Two months after the Federal Government ordered a waiver on “No Work, No Pay” on striking members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and ordered eventual release of their four-month withheld salary for 2022, lecturers are yet to be paid, checks by The Guardian have revealed.
ASUU and Congress of University Academics CONUA members, who spoke separately with The Guardian yesterday, regretted that they spent Christmas without salary.
The development, they lamented, has dampened their morale, even as they called on the Federal Government to fulfill its promise. It will be recalled that President Bola Tinubu, in October, approved the payment in a statement by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale,invoking the Principle of Presidential Prerogative of Mercy and recognising ‘faithful implementation’ of terms that were agreed upon during the “fruitful deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
He stated that the waiver “will allow for the previously striking members of ASUU to receive four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary, which were withheld during the eight-month industrial action undertaken by the union.”
The strike, which was held between February 14 and October 17, 2022, was the longest in the union’s history. But speaking with The Guardian yesterday, ASUU National Financial Secretary, Prof Ade Adejumo, said the non-payment was dampening the morale of members.
“We have not been paid. We celebrated Christmas without the salary being paid. If a worker is being owed eight-month salary, you know what the effect will be. Morale is low,” he stated.
The academic charged the Federal Government to fix the economy, education sector and put the country on the path of true development. Also speaking, National President of CONUA, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, insisted that its members were not part of the industrial action called by ASUU and wondered why they were excluded.
He said: “Our members are not happy, and are not motivated. CONUA did not declare any strike, and its members were prevented from continuing their teaching when gates of universities were shut against us. We will not give up on our rights.”
However, the Federal Government has dispelled media reports that the release of the fund was tied to some conditions. Speaking in a meeting with directors of the Federal Ministry of Education and heads of agencies, Minister of Education, Prof Tahir Mamman, explained that there were no preconditions for payment of withheld salary.
“It is not tied to any condition. What we have been having with the unions and the leadership of tertiary institutions across the country is for us to have an understanding so that issues affecting tertiary education in Nigeria are addressed periodically without any strike so that we can have stability in that sector,” he stated.