The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities may be preparing for another showdown as the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has insisted the government will not pay full salaries to lecturers despite their ongoing nationwide protest.
ASUU had on Monday begun protests across the country to press home their demand for full pay after the Federal Government failed to pay them for the eight-month period the lecturers were on strike.
However, Adamu, who spoke with State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, insisted the protesting lecturers would not be paid for work not done in line with ‘No work no pay’ policy.
The ASUU, which embarked on strike in February, called off the industrial action in October, after a Court of Appeal order them to do so
Following the development, the government paid the lecturers half salaries for the month of October while insisting that it would not pay for the eight months they were on strike.
In response, ASUU began protests across the country. But the education minister declared on Wednesday that the lecturers “would not be paid for work not done.”
The minister also reacted to the allegation made by the President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, that paying the lecturers on pro-rata basis was a ploy to make them casual workers.
“Nobody can make university lecturers casual workers,” he said. When told that the lecturers were threatening a one-day action to protest government’s action, Adamu said he was not aware.
BUK postpones examination
Meanwhile, Bayero University, Kano, has rescheduled all academic activities including its first semester examination slated for November 7, 2022, following the ongoing nationwide protests declared by ASUU
A statement by the Secretary, Information and Publication Unit of the university on behalf of the Registrar, Bala Abdullahi, said academic activities had been postponed to a later date.
The Vice-Chairman, ASUU, BUK branch, Dr Sagir Saleh, told reporters that the union decided to protest to show their “total rejection” of the “amputated” salary paid to members for the month of October 2022.
Also, the University of Benin chapter of ASUU has carpeted the Federal Government over its alleged attempt to criminalise the union’s strike action.
In a statement titled, “The onslaught against intellectualism,” read by the union chairman of the chapter, Ray Chikogu, at its secretariat in UNIBEN, the lecturers condemned government’s decision to withhold their salaries.
Also, the ASUU chairman for the University of Ilorin, Professor Moyosore Ajao, called on the Federal Government to pay the backlog of salaries owed members of ASUU during the strike period.
Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents, Ajao said, “My question back to them is if the work is going to be done, will the money be paid or not? If they are saying no payment for work not done, ASUU is not asking them to pay us for work not done. We are asking them to pay us because the work is going to be done.”
ASUU accuses parties
Meanwhile, the President, ASUU, Osodeke, on Wednesday alleged that politicians were planning to privatise federal universities across the country.
Speaking at a special congress of the ASUU of the Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, formerly known as Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, in honour of the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Richard Kimbir, Osodeke said the two options were being considered by the presidential candidates of some parties in the forthcoming general elections.
He said, “If you don’t know, they are planning to sell the universities (federal universities) through public-private partnership, this is being planned by two presidential candidates and the other plan is to initiate student loan at five per cent interest rate.
According to him, contrary to what is obtainable in USA, where student can easily get job and repay the loan, the situation in the country is more difficult due to the lack of jobs for graduates.
“In Nigeria where you have graduates that cannot get a job for several years and by the time you spend 30 years, the loan will run to N40m,” he observed.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson, ASUU, ATBU, Bauchi Branch, Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa, has alleged that the Federal Government is deliberately underfunding public universities to deny the masses access to education through exorbitant fees.