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Monday, December 6, 2021

Nigeria’s university teachers want payment of salary before ending strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted that it can only call off its seven months old industrial action if the Federal Government pays their withheld salaries and completes the negotiations of what led to the strike.

The union accused the government of trying to use hunger, a weapon of war to suppress its members. ASUU further accused the Federal Government of trying to make its members commit suicide vowing that it will remain resolute until the current decaying educational system is improved upon.

The Union’s zonal coordinator, Ade Adejumo whos spoke with reporters in Ibadan, said; “We are ready to suspend the strike if the government pays our withheld salaries and completes the negotiations that led to the strike.

“Our children too are tired of staying at home but we cannot work on empty stomachs while politicians’ homes and warehouses are filled with palliative materials that they don’t even need”.

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Despite a long time, it granted the government to see reasons, it lamented that government did not utilise it.

“Government using hunger to suppress us. Rather than for Government to utilize the opportunity of the lockdown to address our grievances, it was during that lockdown that our salaries were stopped so that our members could die of hunger in their various homes.

“It took a high level of intervention before our members were paid amputated salaries for three months after which Government resorted to blackmail by whipping sentiments against us while taking our members as enemies deserving of starvation.

“The intellectuals are citizens, not enemies but Government appears to have declared war on us using the weapon used during the war against adversaries: hunger.

“Some people have been wondering why ASUU is on strike again. The simple answer is that ASUU is on strike because of the survival of the university system where many of us still have our children as students since we cannot afford sponsoring our children abroad with our measly salaries as politicians do.

“ASUU is on strike in order to restore the past glory of public universities and address the infrastructural decay and deficit in our institutions.

ASUU is on strike for the legitimate dues of its members who are the least paid in the tertiary education sub-sector. For the sake of emphasis, the truth that will shock many Nigerians, which is available for verification, is that Chief Lecturers in some tertiary institutions, who are not required to supervise postgraduate students or conduct research, earn more than professors in our lopsided education system,” Adejumo said.

To the union, there is nothing new ASUU is demanding from the politicians in government than for them to honour their own agreements with the union.

“ASUU is actually tired of having a circus show of talks but in the interest of the students and the Nigerians at large, we still continue to hold meetings upon meetings while the government continues to shift the goal post and dribble the union as it wishes.”

It recalled how the government agreed to inject funds to revitalize our universities in 2019 and nothing has been done about it till this moment.

“The government agreed to do its own obligation of constituting visitation panels to the universities to check their records between April and May 2019 but it has failed to do so.

“We have the issue of our Earned Academic Allowances which the Government agreed to pay in two tranches in November 2019 and July 2020 is still there”. “Then, we are still waiting for the renegotiation of our 2009 Agreement that comprehensively addresses all the issues at stake.

“All that we have before us are words without actions and as our people say, ordinary words do not fill the basket.”

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