ASUU strike: FG offers profs 35% wage increase, others 23.5%

* After 204 days of industrial action

The Federal government, on Tuesday, announced a 23.5 percent salary increase for university lecturers.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed this before a meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities in the country.

He said: “The Federal Government can only afford a 23.5% salary increase for all categories of the workforce in Federal Universities, except for the professorial cadre, which will enjoy a 35% upward review.

“Henceforth, allowances that pertain to ad-hoc duties of the academic and non-academic staff shall be paid as at when due by the Governing Councils of Universities to which such services are rendered and to the staff who perform them.

“That a sum of N150 billion shall be provided for in the 2023 budget as funds for the revitalisation of Federal Universities, to be disbursed to the institutions in the First Quarter of the year and N50billion shall be provided for in the 2023 budget for the payment of outstanding areas of earned academic allowances to be paid in the first quarter of the year.”

The minister said he had been in a dark period of personal anguish and internal turmoil following the lingering strike by ASUU.

“For me, the past two weeks have been a very dark period of personal anguish and internal turmoil. I used to deceive myself that in a climate of frankness and with mutual goodwill, it will fall to my lot to bring an end to the incessant strikes in the education sector.

“This has not proved possible, or, at least, not as easy, quickly and straightforward, as I used to think,” the minister said.

“For me, this is a position I would have wanted us to reach after an amicable resolution of all the issues contained in the 2009 Agreements. It appears that we are running ahead of the negotiations but not for the right reasons. The President of ASUU had been reported to have said that the Union would no longer negotiate with the current Federal Government.

“This position must be resisted. Government and ASUU have no option than to continue talking until our universities have reopened their doors to students, who clearly are the principal victims of the seemingly unending strikes. In the circumstances, therefore, all Councils and Senates of our universities are enjoined to rise up to their responsibilities.”

Also speaking at the end of the meeting, the Pro-chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Prof Peter Okebukola, said the government was ready to go all out to ensure that the university lecturers return back to school.

ASUU President Professor Emmanuel Osodeke could not be reached for comments as of press time.

ASUU, on February 14,  declared a one-month warning strike that later escalated into a full-blown industrial action.

The strike, which has kept public universities shut and academic activities grounded and students and parents bewildered, is in its sixth month, with no end in sight.

Some of the demands of the union included: funding for revitalisation of public universities; payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)/Earned Allowances (EA); payment of salary shortfalls; stop the proliferation of state universities by governors; setting up of Visitation Panels.

Others are: renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for university lecturers and payment of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check – off dues.

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