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Federal Poly Lecturers In Niger Embark On Strike

A file photo of the front gate of Federal Polytechnic, Bida in Niger State. Photo: www.fedpolybida.edu.ng

Lecturers at the Federal Polytechnic Bida on Monday embark on an indefinite strike over allegations of lingering salary shortfall, non-payment of allowances, and secret recruitment of over 141 new staff, among others.

This was made known in an open letter addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation signed by Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) at the polytechnic, Dr Umar Saganuwan.

The lecturers described the alleged recruitment of new staff as unjustifiable, especially when the existing ones have not been paid full salaries and other allowances since July 2019.

They also said the recruitment was fraudulent and does not serve the needs of the various departments of the institution.

The letter read,

Sir, it may interest you to know that apart from other allowances unjustifiably owed staff of this institution for several months and as if this is not enough, the staff have also not enjoyed payment of their full salaries since July 2019, due to management claims of the shortfall in the monthly allocation to the institution.

Coincidentally, while we are still grappling to come to terms with the reality of the  pains inflicted on us by the twin issue of the shortfall of personnel emoluments and non-payment of our allowances, we were greeted by the rude shock of secret and fraudulent recruitment (replacement) of over 141 staff by the management and which does not serve the needs of the various departments.

The questions we are asking are; what is the justification of the massive recruitment when the same institution cannot pay its existing workforce? Why was the appointment secretly done against all known procedures and rules for such exercise?

Why were the appointment letters of the newly recruited staff backdated to 7th December 2018 while they were documented in October 2019 and they are to assume duties in January 2020. What are they hiding?

The union, however, urged the Federal government to set up a committee to investigate the alleged shortfall in personnel emoluments which has led to cut down in staff salaries.

In its response, the management of the polytechnic wrote to the Accountant General of the Federation to counter the allegations of the lecturers.

It explained that the recruitment was transparently conducted, starting from obtaining the governing council’s permission to the issuance of a certificate of compliance by the Federal Character Commission.

The management stated that the letter by the union contained falsehood, adding that it has issued queries signed by the Deputy Registrar, Hussaini Muhammad Enagi, to the executive members of ASUP in the polytechnic.

It, however, queried the ASUP Chairman for flaunting the internal grievance procedure by writing a direct letter to the Accountant General of the Federation.

The query read,

Your action depicts that you have not changed your attitude despite the intervention of the Executive Secretary of NBTE at the Abuja Peace Accord meeting where attention was drawn to respect the internal grievance procedure which you jettisoned by directly writing the Accountant General of the Federation without first reporting to the council.

The above actions contravene Section 4 Sub-section F of the Public Service Rule Chapter 16.2 and 16.5 of the Polytechnic Staff manual.

You are given 24 hours to substantiate with facts why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.

Meanwhile, the union has declared that its members would not go back to lecture rooms until the query was withdrawn and all issues raised in the open letter were addressed.

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