ASUU STRIKE: Education Minister reveals why striking lecturers won’t be paid their salaries
Emeka Nwajiuba, the Honorable Minister of State for Education, has warned that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities should not continue to earn wages and salaries while on strike.
“The lecturers have continued to earn wages while on strike; it doesn’t make sense to earn salary when you have refused to work,” Nwajiuba said in a phone interview with Punch Newspaper on Sunday, May 1st.
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since the start of this year over a number of unsolved grievances, including the union’s insistence on using the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment method rather than the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by the Nigerian government.
Countless efforts by the union and the Nigerian government to reach an agreement have failed.
The minister said, “If you refuse to even pay them, by the time they call off the strike, they will still come back to fight for the payment of the period they refused to work.
“You can air your grievances, come to the negotiation table without refusing to work. The issue of the strike has become a thing of concern. I have four children; two have graduated while the other two are still in public universities. I feel for them, I feel for other students who are at home. I feel the same way other parents feel, but can I bring money from my house and give it to ASUU?
“The Ministry of Education isn’t the employer of the lecturers, we are a supervisory body, and there is no way we can fire or hire someone. Universities have governing councils that supervise the activities that go on, our job as in the ministry is to supervise, we can’t meddle in.
“On the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, I am also paid via the IPPIS, it is owned by the government, there is no way you can tell the government to throw away its platform and pay you with another platform.”
Meanwhile, Mohammed Ibrahim, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) has accused the Nigerian Government of concentrating on trivial matters while ignoring the country’s education sector.
Ibrahim, at the 2022 May Day celebrations in Abuja on Sunday. claimed that universities were compelled to close due to government insincerity and lack of basic equipment, adding that the standard of education in the country had declined significantly.
He remarked, “Our universities have been forced to shut down due to the insincerity of the government to keep to its promises. The standard of education continues to go down due to the insensitivity of the government and the inability to provide good teaching, learning, and work environment through lack of basic facilities that will make them compete favorably with their peers in other parts of the world.
“The morale of university workers is dampened by the poor pay package and the government appears to be paying lip service to education. It is very clear that government pays more attention to frivolous things and has neglected youths that are said to be the leaders of tomorrow.’’