FROM: PAUL ORUDE, BAUCHI
The Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Engr. Musa Shu’aibu, has called on striking academic and non-academic staff of the institution to consider the plight of the students and call-off their indefinite strike, saying that their demands were not peculiar to the polytechnic.
Shu’aibu made the call, on Thursday, while reacting to an earlier press conference by the Joint Action Committee of Academic (JAC) comprised of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria of Polytechnics (SSANIP) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) of the polytechnic, led by ASUP Chairman, Comrade Ahmed Musa Mukaddas.
The Rector explained that the issues of non-implementation of promotions for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and arrears of 2014, 2015 and 2016, non-payment of salary shortfall for 2016 and non-payment of Academic and Peculiar allowances, raised by the three unions were national issues affecting polytechnics nationwide.
He expressed concern that the unions’ reasons for the current industrial action were, “loaded with misrepresentations and mischievous statements of facts, which have succeeded in misleading the general public, rather than educate it on the grievances. At best, one can describe these notices as contrary to established Nigerian Labour and Industrial Relations Laws”
On the issue of non-implementation of promotions and promotions arrears, he explained that: “It is on record that the federal government has recently acknowledge its liability to these claims, requesting all ministries, departments and agencies to compile same and present to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation through a circular dated July 4, 2017,”
He said the polytechnic had written and made several follow ups to the Office of Budget of the federation, the National Board for Technical Education, the federal ministry of education and the National Assembly over the issue of non-implementation of promotions and promotions arrears.
On the issue of non-payment of Salary shortfall for 2016 and February, 2017, he stressed that it is common knowledge that all MDAs experienced shortfalls in 2016, adding the Federal Government set up the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit , PICA to verify the claims by MDAs, with PICA visiting his polytechnic to verify its own claims.
The rector explained that follow up was also made on the issue by the management of the polytechnic and a committee of Governing Council was set up led by the Chairman which had several meetings with the Unions, adding that all parties were awaiting the release of the funds.
Also reacting to the issue of non-payment of Academic and peculiar allowances, he said the federal government had been paying the allowances, until 2013, when the ASUP when on strike that lasted almost a year.
“We lost a year and as a result a whole session was lost and no avenue was generated by the polytechnic, but as a sign of goodwill, the polytechnic the claims as liabilities and these funds would be settled when the funds are generated,” he said
He explained that at the end of the 2016/2017 registration, in March and April, the polytechnic paid over N81 million for 12 months, adding, “We agreed with the unions that a committee would out the modalities of paying the outstanding allowances, after the next registration exercise. The committee is in place and working.
The rector also responded to other issue such as collapse of security system, not holding convocation, the number of staff on payroll and recruitments, the 7.5 pension deduction, students welfare among others saying the issues were greatly misunderstood by the Unions.
He said that the number of staff of the payroll is not a welfare matter as it did not affect individual staff emoluments, adding “staff salaries were being paid as at when due at the end of every month. There is no illegal recruitment n the polytechnic”
On student welfare, the rector who claimed that no convocation was held due to paucity of funds, he said: “In the last seven years, both the male and female hostels were renovated. We have provided adequate water supply and electricity”, adding that, “several laboratories and workshops were provided and existing ones renovated”
“It beats common imagination that a balance of N24 billion will accrue to the institution whose total annual personnel revenue cost is only N2.577 billion,” appealing to the striking staff to call off the strike in the interest of the suffering students.
On the 2009 agreements between the federal government and the various staff Unions of polytechnics, the rector recommended that the negotiation should be as soon as possible, to ensure the stability and industrial harmony in the Campuses.
“The policy of outsourced services should be given a thorough study with a view to reversing it, given the negative consequences it has impacted on the system,” he said.