As the strike by non-teaching staff in the universities enters the third month, chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) University of Lagos branch, Adekola Adetomiwa, says there is sufficient fund for the federal government to settle the shortfall in the contentious Earned Allowance.
Adetomiwa also insisted that UNILAG management has enough fund through its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to pay 40 per cent component of the earned allowance while the government take responsibility of 60 per cent.
The SSANU chairman made the demand after its branch congress in which members resolved to continue the industrial action until the federal government and council does the needful.
Amid solidarity chants, Adetomiwa revealed that he was arrested and detained for two days by the Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) and later transferred to the Department of State Services (DSS) because of the on-going strike.
According to him, since July 2009 to February 2018, the federal government owed each member of SSANU N3,120m out of which it paid N480,000 with outstanding of N2.640m.
He further disclosed that junior staffers are owed N1.560m and government paid each N375, 000 leaving a balance of N1.185m as at February 2018.
‘’These outstanding unpaid debts are by no means little. It smacks of deliberate programme put in place by the oppressor to put our members in poverty. This wickedness will not stand. We collectively say, enough is enough.
‘’The money is there. Nigeria is not poor. Nigeria is not broke. The federal government has the ability to pay the shortfall of the earned allowance and that is the only way to resolve the industrial crisis to settle the non-teaching staff,” he stated.
Adetomiwa explained that SSANU UNILAG branch wrote six letters on the issue to the governing council without response and called on the Babalakin council to use the IGR to pay the 40 per cent component of the earned allowance.
‘’As the strike intensifies, let us owe it to UNILAG council to do the needful, by paying us its component of the allowance. They have no excuse for defaulting. Let us maintain our resolve to continue with the strike. Success is imminent.”
On his arrest, Adetomiwa said his ordeal in the hands of the SIB and DSS operatives is linked to the struggle on earned allowance and stated that no amount of intimidation would deter him from the on-going struggle.
“Police stormed my home at 1.00am without warrant of arrest, I and a former SSANU chairman were taken to Ikeja (SIB office). The next day, we were moved to DSS for further questioning. The only thing the DSS operatives said was that we were the ones removing electrical fuses and cutting off water and we told them that we are not incharge of these services”, he noted.