The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the federal government of Nigeria of treating lecturers in public universities as slaves.
ASUU stated this in a statement on Monday issued by the union’s president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the body held at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River State..
The statement condemned the decision of the government not to pay the eight months’ salary arrears to ASUU members after the lecturers called off their strike action.
It also said the half salary (prorated salary) paid to members for the month of October is unacceptable.
Osodeke further said the drive by the government to introduce student loans goes against every logic and shows the government is not ready to fund public education.
“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.
Citizens, Not Slaves
The ASUU leadership called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the federal government to address all outstanding issues with the union including those that led to the recent eight-month strike.
It also commended ASUU members and their family members for their resilence in the face of the provocation by the government in denying them their entitlements.
He said: “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 Outstanding Salary
The ASUU leadership said denying members their salary and entitlements by the federal government is not acceptable.
“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,” ASUU said.