By Ushang Ewa
Information reaching CrossRiverWatch suggests the Cross River University of Technology may shut down by tomorrow (Wednesday) over unpaid salaries.
Staff are said to be owed two months salaries with sources saying that if staff are not assuaged by the time the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) meets for her congress tomorrow, the ultimate decision to strike may be reached.
“Lecturers and nonacademic staff alike are going through a lot. We don’t know where the problem is coming from. Governor Ben Ayade administration has done a lot in the aspect of salary payment. The Governor has even increased the university monthly subvention to enable management pay salary promptly but as we speak, we don’t know whether the fault is from management or government,” a senior staff told FearlessReports on condition of anonymity.
The source added that: “We have not been paid July and now August salary and nobody is saying anything. How do we pay our way to work? How do we feed our families? How do we fuel our vehicles? It’s such a pathetic situation.”
The Cross River State Government is said to have increase the monthly subvention to the varsity from NGN169 million to NGN200 million to meet up the wage bill and later decided to only foot the wage bill while the Varsity sources for funds through revenue to meet up with other demands.
The state is said to always mop up funds after the salaries of other civil servants are paid and a cheque presented to the management to pay that of the varsity which is often delayed till the middle of the next month.
Also, a management source said during a meeting with the Governor, the management had said they need NGN30 million extra to ensure salaries are paid on time.
The governor, Senator Ben Ayade is said to have agreed and added NGN10 million more taking the total subvention to NGN209 million.
Mr. Ayade later increased to sum to NGN215 million which is been paid monthly.
But, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Owan-Enoh is said to have employed new staff and the wage bill is said to be around NGN245 million per month now.
“The new staff were not the only reason for the increase, He (Owan-Enoh) and the governing council staff contracted out and shared the sanitation, grass cutting and security of the four campuses to each other and all that money caused it (wage bill) to rise up to NGN245 million,” the management source said.
But, the ASUU Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Etta says the decision to shut down activities has not been reached yet as tomorrow’s congress will decide the best format to pressure home their demands.
“We have not decided yet but we will be having congress tomorrow. So, such decision to shut down activities or not will be taken tomorrow,” Etta said.
The management could not be reached as at press time for comments.
But, further findings revealed that Mr. Owan-Enoh had met with Mr. Etta who is expected to brief the ASUU congress on the outcome of that meeting.
Meanwhile, other troubles are brewing on the side as the council chairman, Dr. Emil Inyang is said to have resigned to contest for the position of the member representing the Akamkpa/Biase federal constituency and despite not informing the Varsity, the management had downloaded his purported resignation letter and written to the Governor to replace him.
Also, the Vice Chancellor is said to be pushing for examinations to be held in September so that new students can be admitted in October and will be made to pay full school fees in other for the institution to raise revenue to meet up internal demands as dozens of memos and applications are pending due to the lack of finances.
This is said not to be going down well with many as his tenure is elapsing in February 2019 and pushing through with his demands will mean the incoming Vice Chancellor will face challenges in terms of finances.
This is even as over half of the staff quarters is said to be without power supply for almost one year now.
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