President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Mobolaji Aluko, to refund salary overpayments running into millions of naira.
He gave this directive through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC).
The Registrar of the university, David Suowari, was also directed to refund cumulatively the sum of N130,692.71 per month in excess of his due salary.
According to Punch, the overpayments were said to have been discovered during the commission’s visit to the institution on May 12, 2015 to carry out inspection of FUO’s remuneration practices vis-a-vis the extant government’s pay policy.
Aluko and Suowari were accused of appropriating certain allowances to themselves that were not approved by the government.
These concerns were raised in a letter from NSIWC to Aluko, signed for the Chairman of the Commission by the Director of Compensation, Chike Ogbechie.
“The findings of the inspection in respect of your institution (Federal University, Otuoke) were as follows: The Vice-Chancellor was being paid total emoluments of N1,970,476.76 monthly, whereas he should not earn more than N922,810.23 if he were paid furniture allowance en bloc earlier, or N1,043,176.79 if he were being paid furniture allowance.
“Much of the difference was attributed to certain allowances which were not approved by the government,” the commission said.
The commission said the Registrar was being paid N130,692.71 in excess of his due salary of N502,580.25 stating that the university disaggregated its staff salaries, against government’s policy of pay consolidation.
The NSIWC, therefore, directed the university to stop “the wrongful practices” and comply with relevant rules and rates.
“We hereby direct the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar to refund the cumulative over-payments made to them,” the commission added.
While reacting, Aluko in a text message said that there was neither disaggregation of salaries nor overpayment of salaries.
“Rather, pension and health insurance allowances were due to three of us, Diaspora Vice-Chancellors who are on Sabbatical from our foreign universities, and co-paid monthly in Naira to us for payment to those foreign universities.
“Without that concession occurring, our own local salaries would have been wiped out completely, and we could not have accepted the job,” he said.
Aluko wondered why the issue was coming up in the fifth and final year of their tenure.
“However, the need for accountability is welcome, and Salaries and Wages Commission will be fully reconciled to the full facts,” he stated.