Video: ABSU Lecturers Stage Protest Over 11 Months of Unpaid Salaries, Demand Immediate Action from Governor Alex Otti | #NwokeukwuMascot


ABSU Lecturers Protest Unpaid Salaries, Urge Governor Alex Otti to Take Action | #NwokeukwuMascot 

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Lecturers at Abia State University (ABSU) have taken to the streets in protest over unpaid salaries, urging Abia State Governor Alex Chioma Otti to address their grievances. The demonstration, captured in a widely circulated video, brings to light the financial difficulties faced by the university's academic staff.

This follows after video of protest by health workers at Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) in Aba went viral on Tuesday, who demonstrated at the hospital premises against the nonpayment of 21 months of salary.

In the video, lecturers can be seen marching with placards and chanting slogans, demanding the immediate payment of their outstanding salaries. The protesters highlighted their prolonged financial struggles, which have significantly impacted their livelihoods and professional responsibilities.

The lecturers are reportedly owed 11 months of salary arrears, which has significantly worsened their financial instability. Dr. Chidi Mba, Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ABSU Chapter and one of the protesting lecturers, expressed their collective frustration. He stated that they have been patient for too long, detailing how their families are suffering and asserting that they can no longer continue to teach under these conditions.

Dr. Mba emphasized the need to address Governor Alex Otti's deceptions regarding payments to lecturers and ASUU members, including the public. 

"Firstly, the 2009 agreement with the Federal Government and ASUU regarding salaries and allowances remains unfulfilled. We have been negotiating for two years, yet we have received no response.

"Secondly, we are owed 11 months of salaries, including April, May, and June of 2024. Some lecturers received payments for either April and May or just one of these months. The payments are incomplete.

"Another issue with the state government is the Treasury Single Account (TSA). While we support the government's infrastructural achievements, we need to be able to survive to benefit from them. The TSA should only apply to ministries and parastatals. We are asking for an increase in our subvention, similar to other universities. Our current wage bill is over N360 million naira, but we only receive about N100 million from the government. For comparison, Ebonyi State University's wage bill is around N285 million naira, and their government pays at least N250 million naira. Why is our situation different?" he questioned.

Protesters, numbering in the hundreds, carried placards with messages such as "Agreement is agreement, honor agreement," "Pay us our third-party deductions," and "TSA rejected." They marched through the Uturu community and surrounding areas, chanting solidarity songs.

Reports indicated that the 11 months of owed salaries corresponded with the duration of a long ASUU strike, which saw students sent home and lectures halted.

"If you say we were on strike for 11 months, it wasn't just ABSU. It was a general strike affecting all government-owned institutions under ASUU. Other universities were paid. Why should our case be different? The governor proposed to pay 60%, asking us to forfeit 40%. We said NO!

"We have given them two weeks to meet our demands. Failure to do so will result in a larger protest," Dr. Mba warned.

This protest at ABSU underscores the broader financial challenges faced by state-owned institutions in Abia, calling for urgent government intervention. The lecturers are appealing directly to Governor Otti, seeking prompt and effective measures to resolve the issue.

…Watch first video of the protest below πŸ‘‡πŸ½  

The protest comes on the heels of the Abia State Government's recent announcement of a strategic plan to address the N16.5 billion in salary arrears owed to civil service workers, including those at educational institutions. The government has pledged to begin repaying these arrears in installments starting from July or August, with the aim of completing payments by the end of the year.

During a press conference, Commissioner for Finance Mike Akpara acknowledged the inherited financial burdens and emphasized the administration’s commitment to resolving the issue. "A worker deserves his wages," Akpara stated, highlighting the administration's dedication to improving the state's financial stability and economic growth.

Despite these assurances, the ongoing protest at ABSU indicates a pressing need for immediate action to alleviate the financial strain on university staff. The lecturers are calling for tangible steps to ensure that their salaries are paid without further delay.

The protest has garnered significant attention on social media, with many expressing solidarity with the lecturers and urging the government to prioritize the welfare of its workers.

…Watch second video of the protest below πŸ‘‡πŸ½  

Prior investigations revealed that ABSU lecturers have not experienced such severe delays in salary payments for over four years. The last time a similar situation occurred was in 2020, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As the situation develops, the Abia State Government faces increased pressure to fulfill its promises and restore financial stability to its educational institutions. The lecturers' protest at ABSU serves as a stark reminder of the human impact of financial mismanagement and the necessity for prompt and effective solutions.


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