The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has once more criticized the federal government for failing to comply with its demands and issued a warning that employees cannot be treated like slaves.
The federal government’s decision to pay ASUU members half of their salaries after the union’s strike ended has caused friction between the two parties.
Due to its “no work, no pay” policy, the federal government had maintained that the union members would not be paid throughout their strike period.
However, union members had objected to the decision and vowed to implement a “no pay, no work” policy if the delayed salaries were not released.
The University of Calabar (UNICAL) in Cross River state hosted a two-day meeting of the union’s national executive council (NEC) to discuss recent developments and other matters impacting members.
The national president of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, criticized the federal government’s education policy, particularly the idea of introducing student loans, in a statement released following the meeting on Monday.
Such actions, according to the union, are a sign that the government is not prepared to support public colleges.
“NEC observed with concern the systematic disengagement of government from funding of Public Universities through the proposed introduction of education loan which has proven to be a monumental failure in our nation and some other countries where it was introduced,” the statement reads.
“We find it troubling that the proponents of the policy are so eager to foist it down the throat of Nigerians when they have done more to push the working people of this country into poverty through sheer incompetence in handling the economic fortunes of our nation.
“ASUU calls on Nigerians of goodwill to, in the interest of our students and the nation, prevail on the Nigerian government to urgently address all outstanding issues contained in the December 2020 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action.
“NEC rejects with vehemence, the current attempts to impose master-slave treatment as a mechanism for relating with Nigerian scholars under whatever guise by the ruling class. ASUU members are citizens, not slaves.
“Finally, NEC appreciates the resilience of our members and their families. Their understanding and perseverance, in the face of hardship and provocation occasioned by the government’s intransigence and insensitivity shall be rewarded by posterity.”
On half salaries paid to members, ASUU said: “As reflected in the pro-rated salaries paid to our members for the month of October 2022, as well as the continued withholding of our member’s salaries for the preceding eight months, even when the backlog of the work is being covered by our members in various universities.”