A fresh round of crisis is increasingly brewing in Nigeria’s public universities just two weeks after the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, called off its eight-month strike.
The lecturers under the umbrella of ASUU were on Monday bewildered, following the payment of salary for only 18 working days in the month of October to its members by the Federal Government.
Recall that the union had called off its eight-month strike on October 14, 2022, after the intervention by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
Saga Gist reported that the Nigerian government had insisted on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy for the period the university workers were away from their duty posts.
However, the Speaker waded into the imbroglio between the Union and the FG after all negotiations had failed.
Within a few days of his mediation, Gbajabiamila was able to negotiate an acceptable agreement between the duo, with a promise to pay the university workers their withheld salaries for the months they didn’t work.
However, things took a new turn on Thursday when feelers came in that the FG didn’t keep to its word, as ASUU members were paid a half month salary.
A senior member of the ASUU at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, confirmed this development under confidence.
He noted that the government only paid half salary for the month of October.
“The much I know, those who have called me said they were paid only for eighteen days for the month of October,” he said.
Another academic staff member added: “Yes, I only received 18 working days salary, that’s what they paid me; my colleague received the same.”
The UNILAG chapter of the union described the development as “insensitive and disheartening” on its Twitter page.
The UNILAG branch chairperson, Dele Ashiru wrote: “The leadership of the union at the national level has been duly informed about this unfortunate development and they are on top of the issue”.
At the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, (UDU), Sokoto, the Union has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, of attempts to create disharmony among its members.
There were reports of selective and biased payment of lecturers’ salaries at the university, with some lecturers in the College of Public Health and Medicine receiving all their outstanding salaries.
Ngige had said those categories of workers didn’t participate in the Union’s strike.
Amid low morale among the returning members of the Union, the recent development may complicate the crisis in the public universities.
Meanwhile, ASUU has called a nationwide Congress in its various branches on Tuesday next week to decide what action it will take.