Despite the assurance given by the Vice Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, Prof. Nse Essien to the state House of Assembly that the institution would resume for classes, members of Academic Staff Union of University have doubted the possibility of the classes resumption.
Essien, who appeared this Wednesday before the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Education, assured that full academic activities would commence on Monday, May 31, 2021.
Dr. Ime Okop, the ASUU chapter chairman of the institution, has doubted the possibility of resuming classes on Monday.
Speaking in interview with Straightnews on Wednesday, May 26, Okop said the state government has been paying their members a fraction of salaries.
”Government is not paying us our salaries. Yet, government would give order for our members to resume work with a promise to pay. On Monday, May 24, government paid us half salaries. So, the strike continues,’’ the union chief said.
This is as four industrial unions in the university embarked on strike one month, one week ago to press home their demands.
Appearing before the house, the Vice Chancellor “We are hopeful that on Monday 31st of May, 2021, normal academic activities will commence at both campuses of the Akwa Ibom State University.
‘’We are on top the matter and we are having series of meetings with various stakeholders to make sure that students and lecturers return to classrooms by next week.”
The meeting had other members of the committee and management staff of the university in attendance.
The Chairman of the Committee, Obong Godwin Ekpo had urged the Vice Chancellor to do everything possible to make sure that the lingering crisis in the university between the striking lecturers and other management staff is being sorted out within the shortest possible time so that students can go back to school.
Other lawmakers who attended the interactive session included Rt. Udo Kerian Akpan, Rt. Hon. Usoro Akpan Usoh, Hon. Otobong Bob, and Hon. Charity Ido, among others.
On January 4, this year, the government, management and the unions reached resolutions to end the prolonged strike embarked by four different industrial unions in the institution in last year.
The resolutions included immediate payment of three months backlog of 25 per cent salary arrears to staffers of AKSU for January, February and March 2020, stoppage of payment of 75 per cent salaries; and constitution of a Visitation Panel by the Visitor of the university, Udom Emmanuel.
Upon failure of the government and management of the university to implement the resolutions, the JAC resumed strike in April 2021.
Both campuses at Ikot Akpanden in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area and Obio Akpa in Oruk Anam Local Government Area are under lock and key.