From Janet Audu, Jalingo
The current strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the Taraba State University has been described as baseless and uncalled for by the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Vincent Tenebe.
The VC, who condemned the act in an interview with our correspondent in Jalingo, said he was disappointed by the lecturers action.
He said they have been paid their backlogs of arrears, with 75 percent of their demands met by the institution’s management.
According to Tenebe, the lecturers also raised eyebrows over the issue of perimeter fencing of the institution , which the management is already building, adding that the University collaboration with Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) have established a police station in the campus.
On the demand by pension scheme by the lecturers, he said: ” Let me say without mincing word that the management had already begun process of the scheme since 2018 but it is being delayed by the failure of the same ASUU members to provide or choose their pension administrators and with account details for them to commence the process, when the governing council gave approval for the commencement of the pension scheme, we intimated them and even invited pension administrators to the school during which they were sensitized and they advertised the companies to them, we also appointed a desk officer in charge of the scheme but it is them who are not willing or ready for the scheme”.
Tenebe disclosed that cumulatively, 16 months have been lost and the academic session is made up of nine months.
“How would the public look at us that in 18 months of two sessions, we were on strike for 16 months?”
He therefore appealed to his colleagues to please return to class as constant strike will distort the academic calendar of the institution and the students will be at the receiving end.
When contacted the University’s ASUU Chairman, Samuel Shikaa, who disagreed totally with the Vice Chancellor, said that their action is the right thing to press home their demands.
According to the ASUU boss, the management is only setting the public against them because all they are clamouring for is their legitimate entitlement.
He further revealed that the University has no pension plan for its staff, as well as the challenge with the payment of Earned Academic Allowance, hence the need for the strike.
“We raised issues like the Earned Academic Allowance, on that issue, we signed an agreement with the state government since on the 31, May, 2019, the amount then was over N400 Million which they said the money was much, they promised to be paying N10 Million every months, from June 2019 till date they have not pay even a dime, on the issue of parameter fencing, yes they have started work but the work is stagnant for the passed two years the work is at snail speed, we are talking about safety and security, you can bear me witness that our staff are being kidnapped.”