ASUU Owerri Zone Demands Immediate Payment Of Emoluments

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendment Executive members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, comprising five universities in Anambra, Imo, and Abia states, have raised their voices against the persistent shortfalls in payment of their emoluments by the Federal and State Governments.

In a press briefing in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the representative of the Zonal Coordinator and Chairperson of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Mr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, noted that the ASUU has been battling this issue since 2015.

While highlighting the various amounts owed the universities in the region, Mr Onyebinama stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, had been experiencing steady shortfalls in payment and as at January 2017 it had amounted to over 88 million Naira and hit 170 million Naira in February.

That of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri, as at February 2017 was put at 157 million Naira, while the situation at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture had increased to 136 million Naira.

Mr Onyebinama then stated that they were not demanding new salaries, rather, they were demanding what was legitimately theirs.

He maintained that the issue was capable of truncating the smooth running of programmes in universities across the country.

He therefore demanded an immediate payment of all emoluments, saying “We unequivocally demand the immediate release of payment of our entire outstanding salaries and remittance of all authorized deductions in order to avert the impending industrial disharmony in our universities”.

Michael Okpara University VC Refutes Allegations Against Him

Michael OkparaThe Vice Chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Professor Hillary Edeoga has described the allegations of impunity against him by the ASUU Owerri Zone as a blatant falsehood.

He made this statement during his pre-convocation valedictory conference where he maintained that his tenure as Vice Chancellor in the University has witnessed a lot of infrastructural development, peaceful student relationship as well as massive academic improvements.

According to him, the university has witnessed an increase in the number of students in the last five years of his tenure due to the adequate facilities in the institution, which necessitated recruitment of more staff.

Professor Edeoga said that he cannot fold his arms and permit deterioration in academics by allowing a gap in student-staff ratio.

Administrative Recklessness

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Asuu, Owerri Zone, had decried the alleged administrative recklessness of the Vice Chancellor.

In a press briefing in Awka, Anambra State Capital, the executive members of the Owerri zone that comprises Abia, Anambra and Imo, led by the Zonal Coordinator, Professor Ike Odimegwu, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a Special Visitation Panel into the university to investigate the acts of impunity and redress them.

Professor Hilary Edoga, among many allegations, was accused of academic fraud, financial embezzlement and administrative impunity.

The lecturers also decried what they called the outrageous school charges imposed on students compulsorily.

The students were said to have been compelled to pay 4,000 naira each for intra-campus shuttle bus service irrespective of whether they use it or not.

Aside the issues concerning students’ welfare, the Vice Chancellor was also accused of indiscriminate recruitment of lecturers and appointment of Professors.

There were complaints about admission of students into programmes not approved by the National University Commission as well as loss of programme accreditation.

They said that several moves to resolve the matter at both ASUU Council level and National level had proved unsuccessful.

ASUU Crisis

In all of the accusations, the representative of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Vincent Asor, maintained that the accusations heaped on his principal should not be reckoned with as the group alleging those was not the authentic ASUU in the zone.

The controversy surrounding their authenticity has remained despite their recommendation to President Buhari to sack the Vice Chancellor, Professor Hillary Edeoga over allegation of financial misappropriation amongst others.

A former member of ASUU in the institution, Professor Vincent Asoh has also said that ASUU is not existing in the university and that over 100 members have been disassociating themselves from the current crisis.

Michael Okpara University: Crisis Deepens Among ASUU Members

Michael Okpara University ASUU: Crisis Deepens Among MembersThe crisis rocking the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State, seem to be escalating with over 100 members endorsing their signatures of non-existence of the union in the institution.

The crisis is as a result of the suspension of the ASUU Chairman in the university, Comrade Uzochukwu Onyebinama, by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Hillary Edeoga.

While a member of the protesting group, Professor Vincent Asoh, said that Comrade Onyebinama’s tenure had expired, a member of another faction, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, was of the opinion that his suspension was undemocratic.

Professor Asho stressed that the claim by the group of individuals was inconsequential.

He also noted that by their constitution, the suspended chairman would continue with the tenure until the issue would be resolved.

Professor Osodeke said the body had over 700 members, observing that 200 members can decide to leave the union at their wish. He stated that the union would continue to thrive and fight for the rights of its members.

The Chairman, Governing Council of Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Professor Oko Anya, noted that the issue, which had been forwarded to the senior staff of the union, was getting the due attention required.

Despite the lingering crisis among members of the union, academic activities seem not to have been affected, as infrastructures were being put place by the school administrations to boost learning.

Michael Okpara Varsity Staff To Own Houses

Ambrose-Ali-University-GateThe authority of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike have taken initiatives to lessen the burden of its staff by providing them affordable houses.

This is due to the strategic plan and commitment by the university administration to ensure a conducive learning environment for both students and staff by erecting some infrastructure and laying foundation for various new buildings among many other things.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Hilary Edeoga, while disclosing this to members of staff, said having a university owned micro finance outfit within the school would provide an avenue and opportunity for the university staff to build their houses, reduce the incident of theft and losses encountered by the students while trying to pay their school fees and increase the internally generated revenue.

He said the university environment is a centre for learning that traverses capacity building, developmental processes and growth enhancement in every aspect of life.

He stressed that the initiatives is part of the facilities put in place to assist in generating revenue for the school for more infrastructure.

Meanwhile, whatever is needed to ensure a quality education and enhanced human capacity should be given an utmost  priority because education is the bedrock and foundation of any nation.