There was a mild drama Tuesday in the main campus of the Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, over the non-payment of October salaries of workers of the institution as the workers demonstrated and disrupted academic activities of the school.
The workers, under the Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologies (NAAC), are demanding the payment of their October salaries which the Vice-Chancellor denied withholding.
Rising from a Congress meeting held before newsmen, the Joint Action Committee which mobilized members of the three unions to the office of the Vice-Chancellor where some little skirmishes were recorded resolved that they will embark on a warning strike beginning from Monday 6th November, 2017 and will not return until the Salaries are paid to them.
Speaking for the unions, Comrade Muktar Mohammed said they will only return to work after payment of the salaries and an expanded meeting is held between them, the management and representatives of their national bodies to address other issues concerning their members in the university.
In a letter signed by the three chapter Chairmen of the university, Muktar Mohammed for SSANU, Muktar Abubakar for NASU and Rabiu Zakari for NAAT, they said they wrote the Vice Chancellor on the 31st of October, 2017 concerning the issue which he did not reply.
They said they also met him personally on the 3rd of November, 2017 over his decision to completely deduct the May Salary wrongly paid to them in the month of August 2017 but that his position during the Friday (3rd November) meeting did leave them in any doubt that they will go home without their October Salaries.
However, reacting to the allegations shortly after the workers’ statement, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alhassan Mohammed Gani said he is not responsible for the payment of the workers’ salaries not to talk of its delay. According to him, the allegations are cooked up with sinister motives against him.
He said he was very much aware that not only Federal University Kashere, but that many other Federal universities’ workers have not received their October salaries because of the upgrade in the platform of Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) which the Federal University Kashere has not been able to access due to its cumbersome nature.
On the wrongly paid May Salaries paid to the workers in the month of August, he said due to the mistake confirmed by higher authorities, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation directed that the money be returned which he along with many other management staff had done using an account number sent by the office of the Accountant-General but that the workers refused to do that long ago. He also showed a copy of a letter to that effect.
He explained that he has been doing his best in terms of welfare of staff since assuming office as the Vice-Chancellor of the university by sending staff on national and international conferences on a monthly bases, regularized the appointments of many temporary staff he met on ground among many others. He therefore wondered why he will deliberately inflict hardship on his own workers.