Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau, has pleaded with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the state varsity to shelve plans to resume its suspended strike over the non-payment of its N70 million earned academic allowances (EAA).

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According to NAN, Sunday Hyat, the state head of service (HOS), on Friday, said there are ongoing efforts to address the union’s grievances.

The ASUU chapter of the Plateau State University (PLASU) had embarked on strike in January over issues bordering on allowances and infrastructure development.

In March, the union suspended the strike — which was in its seventh week at the time — but warned that “any breach of the terms of the agreement shall see us resume the strike in full force.”

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The agreement was to ensure the government pays ASUU N70 million, which is part of the union’s accumulated EAA of N200 million, and meet up with other demands of the union.

NAN, however, reported that since the lecturers returned to the classrooms, the state government has not released the money to them as promised.

The situation is said to have heightened tension and agitation amongst members of the union for the resumption of the suspended strike.

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Reacting to the development, Hyat explained that he just resumed office in April and has been making frantic efforts to see that the government met the agreement terms it reached with the union through its negotiation committee headed by Azi Izang, his predecessor.

“Pursuant to actualising the terms of the agreement, the government has inaugurated a Governing Council for the University, increased the institution’s subvention, commenced the construction work on the fencing of the institution along with other infrastructural developments,” he said.

“As we speak, our Accountant General has gone for FAAC meeting in Abuja and I am waiting for him to return so that we could see how we can address the issue of the Union’s EAA.

“We are begging them to exercise some patience and the allowances will be paid in due course. Indeed they have tried in keeping faith with their work in spite of the delay.”

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On his part, Bentse Pamson, the varsity’s ASUU chairman, described the state government’s breach of the memorandum of action (MOA) as “very surprising” and “uncalled for” considering the sacrifice the union had been making.

“As we speak, industrial action could be declared any moment since the national body of ASUU has given us the go-ahead to go on strike over the matter,” he said.

“As patriotic academic staff of this prestigious University, we kept our cool months after signing the MOA expecting the government to fulfill its part of the bargain but to no avail.

“Just last month we received a promissory letter dated April 28 from the Vice Chancellor, stating that the money (N70M) will be paid in a week’s time, but up till date, no sign of it being paid.”

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