- ASUU Reject Ngige,
- SSANU, Warns Against Salary Disparity,
- NLC, Continues with Protest
CEM REPORT | The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said, expect its goals are met it will not suspend the strike.
The Union while kicking against the directive of the President added that the presence of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige will not abate but escalate the issue
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, while speaking to journalists at a press briefing in Abuja, stressed that Ngige, as an acclaimed “conciliator” had been the major actor fuelling the crisis in tertiary institutions across the country.
“When NIREC met the president on this issue, he directed a three-man committee to resolve this issue within a short period of time. If you remember, the committee was made up of the Chief of Staff, ministers of labour and education. That was around February, where are we now? We are in July, did they resolve it?
“Similarly, these two weeks, our prayers and prayers of many Nigerians is that they can resolve these issues within two weeks if that man called the Minister of Labour, Ngige is not part of it. We have to be very clear because he’s the one creating the problems.
“But we will watch because what I read is that the person who is now leading that team is the minister of education. With Adamu, we do hope that he will do the interference of this minister of labour so that it can be resolved. It is a good development but we hope they will meet the two-week deadline.”
Osodeke, alleged that Ngige had been feeding the general public and the federal government with lies, hence the press conference.
“Dr Ngige earlier told whoever cared to listen that he was not the employer of university academics and advised the union to march to the Ministry of Education.
“Specifically, there have been insinuations by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that there was no agreement between ASUU and the government; that ASUU sat down to fix its own members’ salaries; and that our union asked representatives of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to recuse themselves from the negotiations.”
ASUU President further lamented over the disapperance of several funds that could have be deployed for human capacity development and public good.
“We are therefore, not surprised the leadership of the Ministry of Labour and Employment could condescend to the point of denigrating the import of massive injection of fund into the University Education sub-sector as they tried to miserably dismiss the vexed issue of funding Nigerian public universities and uplifting the country’s intellectual capital.
“ASUU believes that the idea of availability of funds is a dynamic process. For instance, government can mobilize funds from different sources including non budgetary outlets like stamp-duty, GSM and alcoholic taxes.
“We are appalled by the recent calls by top government functionaries at both federal and state levels to establish more universities at a time agencies run by same Chief Executives are tightly squeezed for funding.”
He added that the union would not succumb to blackmail, but will uphold it core values.
“We appreciate the teeming Nigerians for identifying with our vision in this respect and we specifically acknowledge the support and sacrifices of our students (including our members who are running their postgraduate programmes).
“We are as bothered as you are because we share a common interest in the Nigeria project.
“However, ASUU shall continue to be guided by the sacred canons of integrity, objectivity, and responsibility to which both academics and media practitioners subscribe.
“It is our fervent hope and desire that the current groundswell of interests would culminate in a convergence of solutions to this avoidable crisis in the overall interest of Nigeria Together, we shall win. The struggle continues.”
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) warned Prof. Nimi-Briggs-led Committee renegotiating the 2009 Agreement that it would not accept any disparity in salaries of university staff, saying it would take legal action against such development.
President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim, in a statement issued last night over alleged proposed salary disparity by the Nimi-Briggs Committee, said it would cause fresh problems in the university systems if care is not taken.
“We have read in the media that there is a proposal for the review of salary for university staff with a differential of teaching staff taking between 108 to 180 per cent and unreasonable of 10 per cent for non-teaching staff.
“We are shocked to read that the Nimi Briggs Committee has submitted a report to the government while we only met with them twice. To say the least, SSANU is not happy with the pace of work in that committee,.
Furthermore, report from Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), suggest that the union will go on with its planned solidarity protest.
Recall that ASUU and its sister bodies have been on a five month strike over issues of; Revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for payment of university lecturers among others which it signed with the federal government in 2009.
The strike entering its sixth month the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) declared a nationwide protest for July 26 and 27 to show solidarity with the striking lecturers.
Also, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) at the weekend threatened to join the strike action if the demands of ASUU are not met by the federal government.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has come under fire from ASUU after he granted an interview on Arise TV where he said some university have resumed and graduated students.