Abia Ikpeazu approves bail out funds in the sum of Four Hundred Million Naira (N400,000,000) for the Abia State University, Uturu


Following strong representations from the Management and Staff of the Abia State University to the State Government for some form of financial assistance in the wake of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor of Abia State State and Visitor to the University, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD has approved the structuring of bail out funds in the sum of Four Hundred Million Naira (=400,000,000. 00) for the University.
This bail out fund is expected to be applied by the University Management to meet basic financial obligations including but not limited to the payments of salaries of workers in the University.
In granting this approval, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is mindful of the fact that the Abia State University has remained a strong model in resources management and maintenance of academic stability.
The Governor notes with pride that the University has since the inception of his administration remained a signpost for excellence and service which has manifested in the consistent improvements in the rating of the University by independent assessment agencies in the country.
The Governor further said that the pandemic which took the entire globe by surprise has fundamentally altered the smooth academic environment in the University leading to obvious and unavoidable disequilibrum in their financial inflows.
Governor Ikpeazu is of the firm belief that under the circumstances, the University is well deserving of this assistance from the State Government.
Details of the structure of the bail out will be worked out between the officials of the State Government and the University Management Team.
The Governor believes that this line of support, which is unprecedented in the history of the Institution will provide the needed impetus for the University to jump-start academic activities and continue to sustain her position in the nation’s academic environment.
The Academic and non academic workers of the University had staged ab protest against the failure of the School to pay their six months salaries and other entitlements.The protesters vowed to continue protests until the state government, which owns the institution, settles them.
The Chairman of the ABSU branch of the Academic Staff Union, Dr. Victor Nkemdirim, said they have been going through hardship because of their unpaid entitlements.
According to him, children of the workers have been sent away from school over unpaid fees.
We have run out of patience, waiting for the administration to do something about it; the future of our children should not be gambled with.
We barely feed since the emergence of the COVID-19 lockdown,” he said.
Nkedirim demanded payment of their salary arrears from July 2009 – December 2010) totaling N902, 161,550.82.
The ASUU Chief also asked the School to pay their Cooperative Welfare money totalling N201,000,000), as well as their Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
ASUU decried non-payment of gratuities,non implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage effective from April 2019 and interests on seven and a half per cent contributory pension scheme
The protesters also demanded six months of unremitted union dues checkoffs.
“Despite the enormity of the sacrifices made by Academic Staff, it is unfortunate that none of them received salaries during this period, whereas virtually all State Universities have paid their Lecturers from April to July. Ours that never deemed it necessary to distribute palliatives to Workers also starved more than 60 per cent of the workforce of their April salary,” he said.
Nkedirim said he could not guarantee the State Government and Students that Lecturers would return to classrooms when the government decides to reopen Universities.
It is, however, believed that this bail out will be a soothing balm to the nerves of the Staff.