Tayo Busayo, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, for personally directing the stoppage of their salaries in the name of ‘no-work, no-pay’ policy.
The national president of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who spoke on Tuesday on Channels Television’s current affairs programme, ‘Politics Today’, which was monitored by DAILY COURIER, also lamented that the Minister has converted the struggle into a personal fight with the Union.
Recall that ASUU had a few weeks ago raised the alarm that the Federal Government had turned the university lecturers to casual workers by paying them half-salaries for the month of October.
But in its response, the federal government said the University teachers were paid in pro-rata for the number of days they (lecturers) worked in October, having suspended their prolonged industrial action on October 14.
The lecturers, however, resolved to stage protest over the pro-rata salary payment instead of embarking on another strike action, declaring lecture-free days in its branches across the country in a bid to draw the attention of Nigerians to their plight.
Speaking further, Osodeke it’s so sad that Nigeria has such a person (Ngige) as a Minister, saying that if government tries to casualise University lecturers, then it will kill the system.
He said, “It is very sad because if you look at it, Professors who are on the same salary scale, some got N200,000, some got N180,000, some N90,000. They paid whatever they want.
“It is sad that we have such a person as a Minister and the question Nigerians should ask, can a Minister of Labour direct the Minister of Finance on what to do? And the answer is no.
“We are working under the Ministry of Education and we thought anybody that can give such directive, who monitor what we do through the NUC is the Minister of Education who is our employer.
“The Minister of Labour is nothing, he is an interloper but the issue has gone beyond him since it was taken to court, which means Ngige has lost his right as the conciliator but he is still interloping and we found out he was the one that wrote to Minister of Finance personally, and directed that they should stop our salaries. This is just personal,” he added.
Osodoke, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to savage the university system in the country.