By Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has decried the non-payment of salaries to members in five state polytechnics by the governors and the withheld salaries of lecturers in six states.
ASUP said the situation is having adverse consequences on the motivation and productivity of lecturers and undermining professionalism in the polytechnic sector.
The union in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa, after the 105th meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) held in Abuja, expressed concern over the attitude of some state governors to issues of members’ salaries, promotion arrears and kidnap of three members of the union from Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.
The NEC meeting observed with dismay, the nonchalant attitude of some state governors particularly of Abia, Ondo, Ogun, Benue and Plateau over the vexed issue of non-regular payment of salaries to members in the affected states.
The union further observed the demoralizing attitude of non-implementation of promotions and annual increment; as well as the irregular remittances of third-party deductions by most of the state governments particularly in Abia, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Bauchi, Borno, Plateau and Bayelsa states as well as the non-implementation of similar deductions by the National Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) Zaria by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The NEC demanded immediate payment of withheld salaries to staff of Plateau, Osun, Benue, Ondo, Bayelsa, Ogun States’.
‘’NEC calls on the state government to implement and pay up arrears of all promotions and annual increment to deserving members and resolve irregularities in third party deductions and remittances in Bauchi, Plateau, Ogun, Osun, Benue states.’’
The communiqué condemned the non-payment of promotion arrears in most of the Federal Polytechnics with some of the polytechnics owed in arrears of over three years.
It equally decried the slow pace in addressing the non-payment of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration owed staff in the sector for nearly 10 years.
The union called on the Federal Government to defray owed promotion arrears of staff as the institutions yet another promotion season, stating, ‘’this is to avoid the unsavoury implications of the mounting arrears.’’
ASUP demanded respect for the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics Act, as well as the restoration of the lawful powers of the governing council of the Federal Polytechnic Oko; as well as a review of the template for appointment of principal officers by stakeholders as the current template is unworkable in parts as seen in the unattainable requirements for the appointment of Polytechnic Librarians.
The meeting appealed to Abia State Government to as a matter of urgency honour and fully respect the agreement entered with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) at the instance of the union with regard to the settlement of the withheld salaries to its members in Abia State Polytechnic, Aba.
ASUP described as unacceptable the current level of suffering of Nigerians as an inexcusable indictment on political leadership and handlers of the nation’s economy.
It also expressed worry over the persistent spates of insecurity as seen in cases of kidnap and attacks on national institutions like offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission across the country.