With controversies sorrounding the eight months salary arrears of lecturers still unresolved, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar branch, Wednesday, staged a peaceful protest demanding that their salaries be paid to cushion the biting effects of high cost of living in Nigeria.
Chairman of the Union in UniCal, Dr John Edor, who spoke while leading other members on the protest, said they were owed eight months salary arrears, from March to October 2022.
Edor said in the month of October, members of the union were paid for 18 days, describing it as “daily payment” for workers.
The Union leader said ASUU was insisting on the revitalisation of universities and that the welfare of university staff should be improved upon.
He said the non-payment of the withheld salary arrears had continue to cause untold hardship to the lecturers.
“The work that they said we have not done, we have done it now and the examination of first semester of 2020/2021 has been concluded. Right now, we are carrying two semesters hand-in-hand to make up for the lost period, yet we have not been paid.
“We were eligible for full payment for the month of October; beyond that, we are asking for the payment of the withheld months. Some members of our union have started receiving salaries and the report we are getting is not favourable to us.
“We are hoping, that in the interest of our children, nation and students, the Federal Government should do the needful and pay us our withheld salaries and address the demands of ASUU,” he said.
In her response, the Vice Chancellor of UniCal, Prof. Florence Obi, commended the lecturers for their peaceful demonstration, but believed that the Federal Government was working towards addressing the matter.
“It is sad that while we were on strike agitating for a better condition of service and an improvement of the facilities, our salaries were withheld. However, there have been several meetings behind the scene and well meaning Nigerians have been pleading with the Federal Government to look into our case as a special one.
“Maybe, the Federal Government is planning to give us our withheld salaries as partying gift. I know that the Federal Government will do something,” she said.
The VC, who commended the lecturers for working hard to meet up with the concurrent semesters, urged them to be patient, saying the situation was not hopeless.