[Abuja]– The Abuja zonal branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has said Nigeria will continue to be an underdeveloped country if the government continue with the trend of cutting short the salaries of lecturers in NigeriaN federal Universities.
The zonal coordinator of ASUU-Abuja zone, Theophilus Lagi, said this while delivering a speech at a press conference on Sunday.
According to him, the act of deducting salaries of lecturers started in 2015 and has become a constant method adopted by the federal government.
“This ugly phenomenon began in December, 2015 and it has become a pattern employed by FGN to debilitate the workers movement in the country, especially ASUU”, his speech reads.
The don also questioned government’s excuse of lack of funds due to the current economic recession, as he warned that the government must reverse the trend and ensure adequate funds are provided for universities to meet staff salaries or risk “consequential damage” to universities.
“In January 2017, the personnel costs released by the government to the University of Abuja, for instance, was a little above N359 million. This amount could only pay about 91% of the salaries of staff in the University for that month. However, in February2017, the same government released a little above 302 million naira to the same University of Abuja for the same purpose, when there was no reduction in the workforce at the University. This dipped the pay-cut further down.”
“While the staff of University of Abuja received 81% of their total salaries in February, their counterparts in the Federal University, Lafia received only 45 per cent of their total salaries for the same month of February2017. At the Federal University of Technology, Minna, the story is also not different, as the University experienced over N21 million cut in salaries each for the months of January and February, 2017.”
He said that the consequence of this act is that state governments will soon adopt the same method, using the Federal government as role model. This, he said, “is a recipe for the death of public university education in Nigeria. This implies that the masses shall no longer have access to university education in Nigeria and therefore, Nigeria shall continue to be under-developed.”
Talking on the way forward, he said that since members of ASUU delivered their social service in their full capacity, it is only logical for the government to reward them for their job done in full.
“ASUU insists that her members have rendered their duties in full (100%) and as such, they should have their salaries and allowances paid in full and not in percentages or decimals. It is on this note that ASUU unequivocally demand an immediate restoration of releases of the full personnel costs (including arrears thereof) to all Federal Universities in Nigeria, in order to forestall the infliction of consequential damage to public university education in Nigeria”, he said.
It should be noted that ASUU-Abuja zone comprises the University of Abuja; Federal University of Technology, Minna; Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai; and Federal University, Lafia.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg