Lecturers of four Gombe State-owned institutions have descried the non-payment of four months salaries by the state government led by Governor Inuwa Yahaya.
The lecturers in a joint representative committee press statement addressed to the Honourable Speaker and members of the state assembly, ask that they intervene on the matter.
The lecturers include those from the College of Health Sciences and Technology, Kaltungo; College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Nafada; Gombe State Polytechnic, Bajoga and College of Education, Billiri.
They warned that they may be forced to go on strike if their September to December 2019 monthly salaries are not paid.
They said: “Family responsibilities have piled up and our creditors are always at our doorposts due to the indebtedness created by such action.”
“Honourable member(s), the nonpayment of salaries for the period of four consecutive months could better be imagined than experienced. Most if not all our colleagues who had academic conferences/seminars to attend could not within the period mentioned. More so, the uninterrupted academic semester is being dedicatedly observed without strike action because we are passionate mentors.
“Honourable members sir(s), we implore that, immediate attention be channelled in resolving this long hardship upon these mentioned tertiary institutions.
“If possible, direct the agency of government concerned to immediately pay us all the four months’ salaries without further delay.
“If possible, caution the responsible agency against such dehumanising and irrational decision in the future, since its position was not made known to these affected institutions.
“We have waited endlessly; your swift intervention will honestly be appreciated.”
They also worried that many of the institutions do not either have principal officers or governing councils.
The letter also revealed that the June 11, 2019 tenure expiration of all the principal officers of Gombe State College of Health Sciences and Technology, Kaltungo, with no tenure renewal in sight may be responsible for the delay in payment.
The Commissioner, Ministry of Higher Education, Meshach Lauco, however, blamed the past administration for bankrupting the state with undue loans and employment.
According to Lauco, that the present government inherited a lot of problem from the previous government. He cited the Gombe State University (GSU) as an example where over N900m of the workers earned allowances was not paid by the past government.
He also said the recruitment done by the past government in Gombe State University of Science and Technology, Kumo was done in a rush causing undue financial liability for the new government to bear.
“Practical speaking as talking state allocation from federal is little above two billion, then tell me how can that solve the myriads inherited problem?
“We are human, we really do understand with them, I want to tell you nobody is happy they way things are,” Lauco said.
He noted that payment of LG salaries was even a problem as the previous government withdrew an overdraft of N1.2bn but the governor took some drastic actions and the LGAs have been stable as they can pay salaries on their own without collecting an overdraft.
“Out of the five institutions, we’ve fully paid the University of Science Technology, Kumo, cleared them at once as at December 2019 because we are streamlining the whole process.
“I assure you, plans are on ground to look into the various issues disturbing the schools, and the government under Yahaya will resolve the problems of the state-owned institutions once and for all,” Lauco said.
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