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ASUU half salaries: Don backs NANS, says will dampen lecturers’ morale

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A frontline female politician activist, university Don and presidential candidate of Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA) in 2019, Prof. Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies has lent her voice to that of NANS, on the issue of “Payment of half salaries to lecturers” and that “Half salaries will dampen lecturers morale” as insinuated by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West zone, in a report today by Opinion Nigeria.

Adesanya-Davies reacts: “God bless Nigerian students in the entire South-West, the great NANS of the zone, for airing their opinion on the issue of payment of half salaries to lecturers.

“It would certainly dampen lecturers’ morale; we can bet with the government of the day. The idea is ill-conceived and unfair,” she noted.

As published on November 10, 2022, by Opinion Nigeria, on ASUU STRIKE, “the National Association of Nigerian Students, South-West zone, has kicked against the reported half salaries being paid to lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities by the Federal Government.

“NANS, in a statement by its SW zone, obtained on Thursday, and signed by its Coordinator, deputy Coordinator and Public Relations Officer; Adegboye Olatunji, Alao John and Awoyinfa Opeoluwa respectively, said the Federal Government had failed to prioritise education under the present administration.

NANS said paying half salaries to lecturers was capable of dampening the morale of lecturers, which in turn, will affect the students.
“The actions, inactions and body language of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) led administration have left us with no doubt regarding the low priority son education under this government. “And like the proverbial King who reigned during a period of widespread discomfort, the degeneration and acute deterioration experienced in the educational sector will not be forgotten in a hurry by Nigerians.

“Just as Nigerian students are finally able to smile after the suspension of an eight-month-long ASUU strike, the Federal Government in their usual retrogressive inclinations has deemed it ‘wise’ to pay half salaries to members of ASUU. This ill-advised action, if allowed to stand, will not only set a bad precedence, but ruin the already tattered morale of our lecturers and further weaken the already debilitated trust between the said union and the government,” NANS said.

NANS said ASUU only suspended its eight-month industrial action in obedience to the National Industrial Court and the intervention of some well-meaning individuals.

“Ironically, those directly appointed and being paid from our commonwealth to oversee education and Labour matters namely, Mallam Adamu Adamu (the Minister for Education), Dr. Chris Ngige (the Minister of Labour and Employment), and Festus Keyamo (the Minister of State for Labour and Employment) made meagre contributions to the development.

“As a matter of fact, we have it on good record that Ngige particularly was willing to crash the entire sector just to bring ASUU on its knees and massage his own fragile ego.

“From all indications, if drastic measures aren’t taken, the Federal Government and its overpaid employee; Ngige seems ready to bury the entire educational sector,” the students said.

NANS claimed that if ASUU chose to boycott work again as a result of the decision of the FG, “the government might as well forget about tertiary education completely.”

The student body, sympathising with the lecturers, said while the no-work-no pay policy may make sense in some instances, the peculiarity of Nigeria’s educational system must be prominently recognised and seriously considered.

“It is well established that upon resumption of academic activities, lecturers must continue from where they had stopped before the strike, and therefore perform all expected responsibilities.
“Consequently, the Federal government has no ground for paying only half salaries,” NANS added.

The statement concluded that, “as the leadership of all Nigerian students in the entire South-West, we demand that our intellectuals and the moulders of our collective future be accorded their deserved respect and their dignity not be tampered on.

”In addition, procedure to pay the remaining balance of their remunerations should be put in motion immediately.”

Similarly, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to stop provoking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in a dispute over wages.

Mr Falana, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said the lecturers should be paid their full salaries for months they were on a strike action.”

Mr Falana, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said the lecturers should be paid their full salaries for months they were on a strike action.

This is because the Federal Government failed to pay full salaries to lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

“In a statement, by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the government noted that members of ASUU were paid their October salary pro-rata. According to the ministry, pro-rata was done because they cannot be paid for work not done.

The statement further clarified that the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, directed the Accountant General of the Federation to pay the university lecturers half salaries.

The statement reads in part: “Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, asking ASUU to go back to work, the leadership of the union wrote to the Minister, informing him that they have suspended the strike.

“The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to him in a similar vein and our labour inspectors in various states also confirmed that they have resumed work.

“So, the Minister wrote to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, directing that their salaries should be restored.

“They were paid in pro-rata for the number of days that they worked in October, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action. Pro-rata was done because you cannot pay them for work not done. Everybody’s hands are tied.”

Adesanya-Davies further opines: “For heaven’s sake! So ASUU members in our ivory towers are now being treated as casual workers? God forbid bad thing!”

She added: “We hope that the vision and mission of this government is not to finally ground the education system of the country before they leave!

“Thank God we are now counting their term/tenure as months, weeks, days and hours and no more as years. We are watching them more closely.”

The PUNCH reports that ASUU had sought the cooperation of Nigerians amid the recent developments, as it said it would opt for legal means to further pursue its course.

This is as the FG, through Ngige, has insisted that ASUU were paid “pro-rata”, that is only for the job done. Read more.

 

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