• News - South East - Enugu
  • Updated: November 29, 2023

Presidential waiver: No official document from FG — ASUU

Presidential waiver: No official document from FG — ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that the Federal Government is yet to communicate with the union regarding waiving the no-work-no-pay policy offered by President Bola Tinubu.

President Bola Tinubu had in October approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” policy against ASUU members prior to the National Industrial Court's ruling on the suit filed against the federal government by Femi Falana, an activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) on behalf of ASUU over what it called the discriminatory and illegal treatment of its members.

The Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale had stated that the waiver would allow the payment of four months of salary accumulation against the eight months of salary which was withheld after the eight-month industrial action embarked on by the union

Ngelale noted that the grant of the waiver was approved on the condition that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding specifying that the special waiver granted by the President would be the last of its kind to ASUU and other education unions. 

He added that the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy invoked by Tinubu hoped to “mitigate the difficulties being felt during the implementation of key economic reforms in the country, as well as his recognition of the faithful implementation of terms which were agreed upon during the deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

Speaking on the presidential waiver, the ASUU UNN branch chairman, Comrade Nobert Oyibo Eze: ‘‘As far as the idea of four months salary and signing documents are concerned, ASUU has not received any official communication from the government. And the truth of the matter is that we have done the work. And you cannot deny us our salaries after we have done the work.

‘‘You see, the problem with the Nigerian system is that we have a political class that is hypocritical, that is self-centred and extremely wicked.

“Why would they want to answer a doctor and a professor and claim they have attended university, which they did not? They claim all sorts of titles from the educational sector, they want to be doctors, professors; they want to claim they have the degrees. So, education is good for them but they cannot fund it in this country. What exactly is the government of this country doing?

“Recently, it was reported all over the place about the N160 million they appropriated to each one of the members of the National Assembly to buy bulletproof vehicles. So, they are the only ones to be secured.

‘‘The major salary they are paying the workers, they cannot pay it. Whenever it comes to their own, there would be money.

“I read somewhere two days ago about how N104 billion was sandwiched, smuggled into the budget as an end-of-the-year parting gift, where a senator will take N300 million and a member of the House will take N200 million.

“Whenever it comes to their own needs, there would be money. But when it comes to taking care of the workers who generate this money, they will be talking about empty treasury. Are they talking to kids?

‘‘President Tinubu said during his campaign that if he becomes the president of this country, he will make sure that he stops strikes in the university by ensuring that whatever the universities need to be functional he provides them.

“Since he took over as the President, has he called the members of the union to dialogue? Why do we have this type of system where the people, the masses who are working are being crushed?

“Today, we are buying a litre of fuel at N700, how much is our salary? A professor’s salary cannot feed him summarily for two weeks.

‘‘I want to tell them that if they want things to work in this country, they must consider the people. If all of us die, who are they going to govern?

“Why is it that our political class is self-centred? Other governments are pumping money into the system to have a state-of-the-art university. Here in Nigeria, they are busy proliferating universities, which they don’t fund. The health sector is sick.

“I’m saying, unless they pay those salaries, things will not work well in the universities. And they are even using the eight months' salaries, which we have worked for as a cover because the major issues, why we went on strike, nobody talks about it anymore.

“We went on strike because our take-home package can no longer take us home. This salary we are receiving today, they were negotiated and effected in 2009. What is the exchange rate now compared to 2009?

“What is a professor in Nigeria earning when you convert the dollars to naira? It is a shame that our people go to places where things work, they send their children overseas to study because things are working well there.

‘‘Why is it that the people who are now in government, those who went to the university, who enjoyed bursary awards, free education, federal scholarship cannot even give scholarships, cannot even pay salaries?

“All over the place, the primary and secondary schools are crying. Then come to the universities, colleges of education and polytechnics.

‘‘Nobody is enjoying the strike. If they uplift the system, strike will stop. As long as they continue to play politics, we will continue to go on strike.”

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