[From ANIEKAN ANIEKAN, Calabar]
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Calabar Chapter, have protested 6 years of unpaid salary arrears and other local entitlements.
The ASUU members congregated in their numbers at the UNICAL International Conference Centre and took their protest to the main gate before dispersing at the administrative building.
Some of the placards carried by the protesting lecturers read: “Pay Our CES arrears”, “Pay Our GSS Arrears”, “Pay Our Post Graduate Thesis Supervision”, “Pay Our Promotion Arrears’, Pay Our Study Fellowship and Conference Attendance Arrears”.
Speaking during the protest, John Edor, Chairman of ASUU, UNICAL chapter said the unpaid salaries and arrears range from between 4 to 6 years depending on the sub head.
He said they have been asking for their arrears for long but the COVID-19 pandemic and IPPIS monster has compounded living condition of their lot.
“Our grievances are that for a number of years now members of ASUU, University of Calabar Chapter have been working and our entitlements have not been paid to us.
“Such entitlements include teaching of GSS Courses, Graduate Thesis Supervision Allowance, CES Courses, Sandwich programmes, Pre-degree and promotion arrears.
“Some of our members had been employed and they commenced payment of their salaries but a backlog of their salaries is left unpaid and that is what we call salary arrears.
“Even if the federal government has refused to pay our salaries what we have earned which is not one, two, or three but some are running into five, six years should be immediately paid to us.
“We have been asking for our entitlements for long but the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded our vagaries and vissititutes.
“The lock down has made it impossible for us to go and source for other legitimate means of livelihood to feed our families”, Edor said.
He said the protest is only the beginning and if their entitlements are not paid, they will commence an “Operation Occupy UNICAL”, he said.
No Management staff of the institution’s was on ground to address the protesting lecturers.
The institution is currently in the final stages of selecting a new Vice Chancellor to replace the outgoing Professor Zana Akpagu whose tenure ends this month.