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The Academic Staff Union of Univer­sities (ASUU) has warned of a fresh crisis it claimed would surpass all pre­vious ones in Nigerian universities.

Following this, ASUU has sought intervention of stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to pay mem­bers across the country their withheld eight months salaries.

The chairman of ASUU, University of Ilorin branch, Prof. Moyosore Ajao, raised the alarm at a special congress of the local branch held at the univer­sity’s main auditorium.

The university’s lecturers had staged a solidarity rally with­in the campus before retiring to the auditorium where they addressed newsmen on ‘Casu­alisation of Intellectual Work­ers in Nigeria: Prelude to our Response’.

He said, “Though we have resumed work in our univer­sity, government’s ignoble stance of withholding our eight months’ salaries based on its ill-advised policy of ‘No work, No Pay’ is set to trigger fresh crisis.

“In the coming days, the union would respond by con­sidering to invoke the ‘No Pay, No work’ policy and would abandon the works that have accumulated for those period which government has falsely claimed, through Chris Ngige, that our members have not worked.”

He said members of the pub­lic are “put on notice again that a fresh crisis, which would sur­pass all previous ones, is loom­ing in Nigerian universities, saying the union members would not continue to do free work.

He added, “Our union and its members should not be held responsible for the consequenc­es that its actions, in response to the crude wickedness of the Nigerian state, would have on all stakeholders.

“As a law-abiding union, we have heeded the directive of the court which directed that we resume to our duty posts while the substantive matter is being heard. “However, after resumption from strike and to our utmost dismay, govern­ment decided, that half salaries be paid to our members for the month of October, 2022. This de­velopment is unacceptable and would be resisted by our union.

“The fact is that academics are not casual workers. Only casual workers receive pay prorate”.

ASUU Protests Alleged Victimisa­tion Of Members By FG

Similarly, members of the Academic Staff Union of Uni­versities (ASUU), Ibadan zone, which comprises University of Ibadan (UI), Ladoke Akin­tola University of Technology (LAUTECH), and University of Ilorin, have protested against what they described as the vic­timisation of their members by the Federal Government and its agents.

It would be recalled that ASUU embarked on strike on February 14, 2022, to get the government to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with the union on December 2020.

Speaking with journalists on Monday during the pro­test, the Chairman, ASUU-UI, Ayoola Akinwole, stated that this MoA included the renegoti­ation of 2009 ASUU-FGN agree­ment, payment of outstanding earned academic allowances (EAA) and withheld salaries of 2020 and the release of the white paper by the visitation panel to the universities and inter-uni­versity centres, among other issues.

He expressed dismay that since December 23, 2020, these items of the MoA had not been honoured and implemented by the government, leading to the declaration of a strike action by ASUU on February 14, 2022.

Akinwole maintained that the government rather than swinging into action to resolve the issues, embarked on play­ing politics with the lives of Nigerians and moved quickly to stop the payment of ASUU members’ salaries for seven months, leading to starvation and death of some members of the union.

The ASUU-UI boss disclosed that the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabi­amila, intervened in the matter with a view to brokering peace between the executive arm of the government and ASUU.

According to him, the inter­vention by the speaker and the agreement emanating there from led to the suspension of the strike on October 14, 2022.

He said, however, despite reaching an agreement with the speaker of the House of Rep­resentatives, which led to the suspension of the strike, none of the items on the said agree­ment has been implemented.

“The agreement with the speaker included following: That the government is going to sign the new salary pack­age, payment of the withheld salaries from March to October 2022.

“Payment of the withheld third-party deductions, includ­ing check-off dues from March to October 2022, non-victimis­ation of ASUU members who took part in the strike.

“Today’s protest has be­come necessary due to our conviction that the Federal Government is on a mission to destroy the public universities through inadequate funding, and through its war against ASUU.

“This war against ASUU by the government and the Ni­gerian elite has manifested in various ways such as: violation and repudiation of all extant agreements reached with the union, forcing the union into strike, prolonging the strike by its inaction and victimis­ation of ASUU members for embarking on strike, which they were forced into by the negligence and inaction by the government.

“In addition to the forego­ing, ASUU members are being treated differently from mem­bers of other unions that also embarked on strike to press home their demands. For in­stance, the members of the Re­search Institutes embarked on twelve-month strike and their salaries were paid throughout the period they were on strike.

“On the contrary, the sala­ries of ASUU members were stopped a month into the strike and members were expected to starve to death. This is evidence of double standard, inconsis­tency and selective treatment meted out to ASUU members by the government.

“Similarly, government has surreptitiously appropriated funds belonging to ASUU and its members. For instance, the government deducted check-off dues for the months of March, September and October 2022 without remitting same to the union.

“This was also the case in 2020 when about three months’ ASUU check-off dues were deducted by the govern­ment without remitting to the union. The only explanation for this is that the government is hell-bent on destroying ASUU in order to have the freedom to destroy the public universities.

“As a union of intellectuals, it is our historical responsibili­ty to protect the public univer­sities from collapse and fight for the interest of our members as well as the interests of the Ni­gerians students. All these con­siderations necessitate today’s (Monday) protest”.

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