ASUU Threatens Strike Over Withheld Salaries, Issues Ultimatum to Federal Government
ASUU Threatens Strike Over Withheld Salaries, Issues Ultimatum to Federal Government

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to go on strike if the Federal Government does not pay public university lecturers their withheld salaries.

ASUU Threatens Strike Over Withheld Salaries, Issues Ultimatum to Federal Government

ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, revealed this during an interview on Thursday.

Osodeke criticized the government for paying only four months of the lecturers' 2022 withheld salaries while withholding three and a half months’ worth. He argued that since public universities have covered the work from the strike period in 2022, the lecturers deserve full payment.

"Every university in Nigeria is in the 2023/2024 academic year, and by September/October, they will be in the 2024/2025 academic year," Osodeke said. "This means that all the work for which we were not paid during the strike has been covered through our sacrifices."

He added that ASUU members have not taken leave in the past three to four years to make up for the lost time. "When you pay only four out of seven and a half months, you are not being fair to us," he stated.

Osodeke mentioned that the two-week ultimatum to the government began on May 13, 2024. He emphasized that ASUU members must be fully paid for the entire period of the 2022 strike.

He criticized the current administration for clearing only four months of their withheld salaries, noting that if the government can award road contracts worth trillions, paying lecturers should not be an issue.

"We don't want to hear that 'we don't have money.' If the government can award a contract of ₦15 or ₦13 trillion to construct a road, then ₦200 billion for all Nigerian universities is reasonable," he said.

Osodeke warned that if the remaining salaries are not paid, ASUU will consider a "no pay, no work" approach.

He also highlighted that many lecturers are leaving Nigeria due to poor remuneration, noting that a lecturer’s salary has significantly decreased since the 2009 agreement.

Osodeke pointed out the importance of functional Governing Councils in universities, criticizing the current situation where universities have been operating without them for 11 months. He stated that many illegal contracts and recruitments have occurred during this period.

ASUU's demands include concluding the agreement negotiation that started in 2017, reinstating dissolved Governing Councils, and paying owed academic allowances.

In 2022, both academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria went on an eight-month strike demanding better welfare packages. The Buhari administration then enforced a "no work, no pay" policy. However, in October 2023, President Bola Tinubu approved the payment of four months of the withheld salaries, though non-academic unions SSANU and NASU were not paid at all. The government is considering half pay for these unions, according to Education Minister Tahir Mamman.

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