Anambra Varsity Unions Threaten Strike Over N4.6B Debt

Peace may elude the Anambra State-owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) as staff unions consider embarking on strike following debt of N4.6 billion owed workers by the state government.

The Unions are National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).

They issued the threat under the Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions (JAC) through their  Bulletin No.1, sensitizing the staff to be ready to down tools.

According to the bulletin released weekend in Awka by the Unions, the total debt owed the workers was  put at about N4.6 billion which covers monetization arrears, promotion arrears, CONTISS and CONUASS arrears.

Others are earned allowance arrears, non-remittance of contributory pension fund deductions/non payment of employers (10 per cent) portion of the fund, PAYE deductions and remittance, Non-remittance of National Housing Fund Contributions and Non-remittance of union dues/levies after deduction.

The bulletin was signed by the JAC, Chairman, NAAT-COOU; Comrade A.C. Okeke, Chairman, NASU-COOU, Comrade F.O. Nwaibe and Chairman, SSANU-COOU, Comrade Oddih Obiora.

The unions noted that the JAC-COOU had at various times, pleaded for dialogue, and signed agreements/MOUs with the University Governing Council over the issues.

According to the bulletin, “Unfortunately, little or nothing has come out of all these platforms”

“ While our colleagues in federal and state universities are enjoying better conditions of service, we have remained a “Beacon of Darkness” in a state that prides itself as “The Light of nation,” hoping and praying that the right and proper things will be done to address our needs, to no avail.

“The story has always been “there is no money” but this no money stance, does not agree with the life style and spending of some of the people trusted with managing the finances of the state and the university.

“We have endured and endured to the extent that our “Ndidi,” show of understanding and blind loyalty to the administration is now being seen or construed to be weakness and foolishness at some quarters.

“We are therefore, constrained and compelled to believe that His Excellency, the Governor and Visitor to the university is either not aware of our plight and the myriad problems of the university or that he is made to believe all is well,” the bulletin said

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