On The Salary Situation In Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma

WITH all the self-prepared “news reports”, sponsored protests, deliberate misrepresentations, false claims and unmitigated propaganda launched over the past few months on the public space by a few persons against the Management of the Ambrose Alli University, the Special Intervention Team and the Edo State Government, it is expedient that Management sets the record straight on the issue of salary payment in the University for the benefit of the University community and members of the public.

Management considers it strange that with all the efforts it has made over the months in the payment of salaries, a group of politicians’ poster boys would still come out and describe the payment as “rumour”, “selective”, etc.

The latest payment of February, 2023 salaries is a case in point. It is certainly beyond “rumour” that over 2,260 regular staff and pensioners have received their February, 2023 salaries as at today March 9, 2023, including some of the academics making all the loud unintellectual noises in defense of falsehood.

The records are there for everyone to see and Management may be compelled to publish the list of those who have so far been paid.

It is no longer news that this present University administration has been paying gross salaries since December 2021. Before it came on board in February, 2022 available records showed that the last gross salary payment was in 2020. Salaries and the check-offs for December 2021 and January and February 2022 were paid by the present administration to the various welfare schemes, including the AAU Workers/Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society.

From April 2022 to January 2023, all salaries, including gross and the deductions hitherto made and paid to the Unions, were paid to the staff concerned. Because of the abuse of privilege by the unions, staff were enjoined to pay whatever dues accrued to them upon the receipt of the salaries to whatever union owner scheme they belonged.

Again, all staff of the University who were verified to have returned to work at the time the Edo State Government directed them to do so, have received their salaries to date.

All staff who failed to return to work on the directive of the government and were away on strike for eight months have not received salaries for those months they did not work. This is in line with the no-work-no-pay policy directed by Government.

It is absurd that these self-serving agitators still add up these eight months as salaries due them, when they knew they did not work for them, and when they can see that even their counterparts in Federal Universities have been unable to convince the government at the centre to pay them for work not done.

However, in spite of this, Management acting on the magnanimity and directive of Government has now captured in the University payroll all staff who preferred to wait for the directive of their unions before returning to work. Majority of such staff have received the February, 2023 salaries. Their arrears of salaries from the time they resumed work on the directive of their unions are being computed, and would be paid as directed by the government.

Management wishes to stress that all persons who have been removed from the payroll, and declared “ghost workers” on account of their refusal to appear before the staff verification and biometric exercise, have no claim to any salary.
On this, we need to remind all that the Edo State Government approved a staff verification and biometric exercise to determine the number and status of staff in the University payroll and to decide whether the University needed any upward review of subvention or otherwise in 2021.

But rather than comply, ASUU, AAU questioned the exercise and directed its members to boycott it. The exercise scheduled to last for 3 weeks lasted for 6 months. It was ASUU, AAU that took the case to the National Industrial Court (NIC), to question the right of the government to carry out such an exercise.
It is common knowledge that the above case has long been disposed of and the verdict is that the Government has a right to carry out staff verification and biometric exercise and a right not only to carry out this exercise, but to mete out any disciplinary action against defaulters.
It is worth noting that the present Management appealed to SIT to prevail on Government to further extend the period of the biometric verification to enable staff who had not been captured have the opportunity to do so. When this was granted, ASUU, AAU prevented its members from participating. The letters written to this effect as well as the press releases are in the public space.

Also worthy of note is the fact that while he rallied his members not to participate in the biometric exercise, the ASUU, AAU Chairman, Dr. Cyril Onogbosele, surreptitiously went to participate in the exercise, presented his First School Leaving Certificate, got his print out and received his salaries for the period, the latest being the present February, 2023 salary. It is interesting to note that he thereafter went ahead to discourage his members from further participating in the exercise.

As at now, Ambrose Alli University has restored check-off to AAU Workers/Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society, and the backlog of check-offs from September, 2020 to November, 2021 is being worked out for payment to the Cooperative Society. To this effect, the SIT has constituted a Check-Off Verification Committee. All checkoffs to other bodies are also now being verified.

Management hereby states in unequivocal terms that the claims by ASUU, AAU that a 27-month checkoff is owed to them is untrue. The arithmetic surely does not add up; the same applies to the allegation that Management is doing selective salary payment. For what purpose? It should be glaring from the facts above that salaries are being paid in line with the laid down procedures and in absolute subversion of the age-old entitlement mentality that even if one decided to stay at home for eight months, Government must calculate the money and pay you.

Unfortunately, the train left the station long ago and that era is over.
Management remains committed to its set goal of repositioning Ambrose Alli University in line with the vision of the Edo State Government. It will not be cowed or intimidated by the fusillade of sponsored attacks on it by a few disgruntled persons using ASUU, AAU as banner or cover.

We know the salary “crisis” being said to exist in AAU by this band of agitators exists only in their hearts as they seek to reap eight months salary even when they did not work for it. We will continue the effort to pay salaries as and when due to those who have worked for them.