The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) are at each other’s throats over the disbursement of the N22.1 billion earned allowances promised by the Federal Government.
ASUU is accusing SSANU and other staff unions in the university system of not being able to fight their own battles and always waiting for them to do the fighting and then come to share in the spoil.
However, SSANU is accusing ASUU of greed, claiming that the varsity teaching union likes to play the role of a tree making the forest.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke; and the National President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim, made the stance of their unions known to the media at separate fora.
Osodeke, who first spoke, wondered why other unions in the university system would not fight their own battles, but wait until ASUU has done all the work before raising issues.
He said: “We don’t know why they won’t negotiate for their members. According to Trade Union Rules, a union cannot negotiate for members of another union.
“They just want to incubate eggs they did not lay. ASUU collects dues from members and we must defend such members and negotiate on their behalf.”
Osodeke added “Let other unions go and do the same.
“I don’t know the kind of unionism they practise. Is it unionism of attaching themselves to other unions?
“Let them go and meet the government if what they are being offered is not enough. Whatever they get is because of the magnanimity of the government.”
But SSANU’s Mohammed accused ASUU of behaving as if it can do everything all alone in the university system, and also accused the union of greed.
He explained: “We don’t need to attach ourselves to any other union to demand and get our dues and rights.
“In the first instance, we are all members of the university system. When the first tranche of allowance was paid, it was fairly shared and ASUU did not like that.
“So, before the second payment was paid, ASUU had gone to twist the arm of the government and from the government end, the sharing formula followed the funds.
“After the payment of the second tranche, the government set up a committee to do the forensic audit of all federal universities and it was discovered that ASUU members were overpaid.
“Up until now, the report of the forensic audit has not been released. ASUU forced the government to let the sharing template follow the funds.”
On the call by SSANU and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU) the government should suspend the disbursement based on 75 per cent allocation for ASUU and 25 per cent for other unions, Osodeke said SSANU and NASU could not stop the disbursement.
However, Ibrahim said if the money is shared based on that formula, his members would decide the next line of action.
It was learnt that the money has not been released as of Sunday, 31 October, which was the deadline given to the Federal Government by ASUU to make payment.
When confronted with that, Osodeke said the leadership of ASUU would meet in a few days to assess the situation.
Recall that last week, the non-teaching staff went to town complaining about alleged lopsidedness in how the expected money would be shared.
SSANU and NASU, which formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC), said they would not accept the sharing template being proposed.
The third non-academic staff union in universities is the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).