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ASUU is considering legal action against FG

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By Usman Oladimeji

The union persist that the government must pay the withheld 8 months salaries.

Following the suspension of a long strike, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continued the fight for what it described as the members rights. The union has pledged to continue on its endeavor until the federal government pays the withheld eight months Salaries of its members during the period of the recently suspended strike in full. Seeing to this, the union is considering taking legal action against the federal government in order to compel it to pay out the withheld salaries.

Meanwhile, ASUU president, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke has expressed skepticism about taking legal action over what he termed slow dispensation of justice in Nigeria. He claims that in Nigeria, going to court is time wasting. The union would continue to explore other means of compelling the government to pay the outstanding salaries in question not acknowledging the time frame it will take. Conversely, the general public, especially the students that were greatly affected by the just suspended strike action, awaits with bated breath on what the measure will ASSU take next.

Legal action against the Federal Government can not be voided.

The Federal Government had invoked a no-work-no-pay policy, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige as such the union members were not paid for the timeframe of eight months spent during the strike. It further became clear to the union that the government was not even considering paying the outstanding arrears salary when the government counted the number of days the lecturers worked in October and decided to pay them on “pro-rata basis”.

However, some members of the union have shown concern over the non-work-no-pay policy arguing that taking legal action against the Federal Government can not be voided if the current option being adopted fails to yield positive fruits. Likewise, Dr. Salahu Lawal, zonal coordinator of ASUU, Abuja, persist that the government must pay the withheld salaries, saying the argument that lecturers would not be paid for work not done should be nullified. Dr Lawal lamented that the withheld salaries had adversely affected ASUU members. He averted that lecturers could not teach on an empty stomach and give their best.

Government plans intervention for partial payment.

Dr. Lawal explains that the union is still dialoguing with the federal government to showcase the reason why the union must be paid the withheld salaries. In his words, he said it should be notable that “there is no break in academic”. While all left work and tasks have to be completed, the government also have to pay the lecturers, he added. He went on to say that the union is currently open to discussion which is why it seeks actual understanding with government officials on the reason why the withheld salary must be paid.

The union is awaiting the outcome of the already adopted measures on whether it will yield the desired outcome. Dr. Lawal claims that some righteous Nigerians have been relating positively with the government while some are being dubious on the issue at hand. While it is not obligated for government to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law, nevertheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers.

Current administration tends to resolve all outstanding issues.

Among the intervention is the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which encompasses the sum of one hundred and seventy billion Naira to provide a level of increment in the Welfare package of university lecturers and an additional three hundred billion naira in revitalization funds to improve the Infrastructure and operations of federal universities. This is done as prudent by the Buhari led-administration to resolve all outstanding issues with the union in order foster stand and quality educational session in the country.


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