The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has hit out at the federal government again, over the non-implementation of its demands, warning they cannot be treated as slaves.
ASUU and the federal government have been at loggerheads over its decision to pay members half of their salary after the union’s strike ended.
The federal government had insisted that the union members would not be paid for the period they were on strike, citing its ‘no work, no pay’ policy.
But members of the union had kicked against the move and threatened to adopt a ‘no pay, no work’ policy if the withheld salaries are not paid.
The national executive council (NEC) of the union held a two-day meeting at the University of Calabar (UNICAL) in Cross River state to review the development and other issues affecting members.
In a statement issued after the meeting on Monday, Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU national president, faulted the federal government’s policies on education including the proposed introduction of education loans.
The union said such policies are indication that the government is not ready to fund public universities.
“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.”