The University of Calabar (UNICAL) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Wednesday, staged a peaceful demonstration in protest against the withheld salary arrears by the Federal Government.
Dr John Edoh, the Chairman of the branch who led the protest in Calabar said the lecturers were yet to be paid their salaries for the eight months they were on strike.
He added that members of the union were also paid like daily workers for the month of October, noting that the situation was difficult for the lecturers.
He said: “The work that they said we have not done, we have done it now and the examination of the first semester of 2020/2021 has been concluded.
“Right now, we are carrying two semesters hand-in-hand to make up for the lost period, yet we have not been paid.
“We were eligible for full payment for the month of October; beyond that, we are asking for the payment of the withheld months.
“Some members of our union have started receiving salaries and the report we are getting is not favourable to us.
“We are hoping that in the interest of our children, nation and students, the Federal Government should do the needful and pay us our withheld salaries and address the demands of ASUU.”
In response, the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof. Florence Obi, appreciated the lecturers for the peaceful protest, stating that the federal government was working toward the upgrade of public universities.
Obi added sadness over the withheld payment of the lecturers' salaries while they took industrial action for improved welfare.
“I can assure you that the government is doing something towards revitalizing public universities.
“It is sad that while we were on strike agitating for a better condition of service and an improvement of the facilities, our salaries were withheld.
“However, there have been several meetings behind the scene and well-meaning Nigerians have been pleading with the Federal Government to look into our case as a special one.
“Maybe, the Federal Government is planning to give us our withheld salaries as parting gifts. I know that the Federal Government will do something,” she said.
She further lauded the lecturers for working tirelessly to catch up with the concurrent semesters, seeking their patience while concerned Nigerians communicate with the Federal Government on the issue.