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ASUU members received their rightful salary in October — FG insist

  The Federal Government said yesterday that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, received their rightful salary in Oc...

 

The Federal Government said yesterday that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, received their rightful salary in October which was paid on pro-rata basis.

The government also denied the allegation that it had indirectly made Nigerian lecturers casual workers by paying them half salary in October, saying nobody could make them casual staff.


The minister spoke on a day the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, described the eight months strike embarked upon by ASUU as having very negative psychological and emotional effect on students.

Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, called off its eight month strike, which started on February 14 this year, on October 14 and was paid the October salary based on the number of days worked.

ASUU called off the strike as a result of the judgment of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, which ordered its members to go back to work before it could entartain its pending case.

Angered by the payment of half salary, ASUU has embarked on protest in different universities to express their dissatisfaction with government’s decision not to pay them in full in October.

But despite protestations from ASUU over pro-rata October salary payment, the government insisted yesterday that the lecturers were paid what was due to them

The government also insisted that the lecturers would not be paid for work not done.

The Minister of Education,  Adamu Adamu, stated this while briefing correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Responding 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, the Minister remarked that government had no such plan.


Adamu said:  “The strike has been called off and the government has paid them what is due to them. I think the position of the government is not to pay anyone for work not done.


“How can anybody make a university lecturer a casual… Do you know the meaning of casual worker? If you know the meaning, it is impossible to make a university lecturer a casual worker.”


Asked if the federal government would be willing to take steps to assuage ASUU and stave off further hostilities, the Minister said:   “I don’t understand, is there any problem now?”.


Reminded that ASUU planned work-free-day, he said “Oh? Okay, I’m not aware. I’m not aware that they are going on strike? No, nobody has told me.


“So let’s wait till the work-free-day comes, then I’ll find out the details and we’ll discuss, you can ask me then, but at the moment, I’m telling you honestly, I do not know that there is a problem.”


Asked to shed light on the claim by the President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, that the union only had an agreement with the Minister of Education and speaker of the House of Representatives, and not with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Adamu said “I cannot shed any light on something I did not know.  And since they said they have no business with the Minister of … Did they show you the agreement?   Well, I’m not aware that there’s any agreement between us.”


However, a source in the Ministry of Education has debunked claims in some quarters that the Federal Government entered into an agreement with ASUU.


The source said:   “I do know that the government entered into agreement with the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, before they suspended their strike, but I am not sure that there was an agreement with ASUU.


“Remember that ASUU only called off the eight months strike because of court judgment.”


On the approvals he got at FEC, he said:  “Council approved three memos and all three of them are contracts.


“The first one is for the National Examination Council, NECO, for the printing of sensitive and necessary materials, which was given to about eight contractors in the sum of N5,107,364,373.62.


“The second one is a contract for the supply of 18 ambulances fitted with medical equipment to 18 of our unity schools. We have more than 100 of them, for 18 we just decided to select three in each geo-political zone.


“The third one is a contract for the perimeter fencing of Usman Dan Fodio University in the sum of N3,269,761,783.43 to Amis Construction Nigeria limited”


ASUU’s eight months strike affect students’ psyche, emotions – Sultan


Also yesterday, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, has described the eight months strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as having very negative psychological and emotional effect on students.


He added that the strike was unnecessary, unfortunate and very sad as it could have been avoided by continuous and effective communication.


Sultan Abubarkar, who stated this before the commissioning a 25-bedroom Guest House donated by the Babalakin family  to Fountain University, Osogbo, stressed the importance of dialogue between leaders and the public.


“We just came out of an unfortunate eight months ASUU strike. I believe it is very sad and frustrating. But these are things that we could have avoided by continuously talking because it is not today that ASUU started having problems with the government and they will never stop having problems with the government.


“So when you have problem with anyone, what you should do is to sit down and dialogue in an honest way and once you have agreed on any terms, please try to implement your agreement. 


”But if you think you cannot, come back to the table again and discuss more, then you can have other alternatives to solve the problem, not embarking on strike that will affect the children.


”I know how our children have been affected psychologically and emotionally by the eight months strike, I think that is not good for us.


“I have been pleading with ASUU, I have been part of negotiation team with ASUU at the federal government level and I know what we have discussed, there are things that we could have done more to be honest with one another in ensuring that our children whom we all care for remain in school and graduate at the right time.


“No matter how bad a university is, the school turns out thousands of graduates who are excellent and brilliant.  Why do we have to continue fighting over some little issues, the government can not fund all educational issues, people should come out and help to fund public tertiary institutions, so we can have a better situation in our schools, especially our universities,” he said.


While corroborating the Sultan, Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, whose family donated the guest house to the university, maintained that educational institutions must find ways of generating revenue from sources that would not detract from their primary goal of providing very good education for the students.


He said:  “the reasons for the project in the school is to compliment our father’s serious passion for education. Our father, Justice Bola Babalakin, always sought to educate everyone around him.


“For any discerning person in the education sector, it is very clear that government at all levels, as structured today, cannot singlehandedly fund education. 


”The resources required to fund a proper education system are simply not there or are not easily available. For this reason, educational institutions, especially tertiary institutions, must continue to find ways of generating revenue from sources that will not detract from their primary goal of providing very good education for the students”.


In his remark, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola commended the donor family for the gesture and urged the benefitting institution to make judicious use of the project to the benefit of the school.


Meanwhile, the protest against government’s ”no work, no pay” policy by ASUU continued at universities across the country yesterday, as lecturers in University of Benin, UNIBEN, accused the federal government of attempting to abdicate its constitutional role to Nigerians in providing quality and affordable education to Nigerians and attempting to criminalise strikes.

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