FG Raises 14-man C’ttee As ASUU Rejects 25.3% Salary Increase..

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  • Govt To Look Into ‘No Work, No Pay’ Measure Against Striking Lecturers

The Federal Government has again set up a 14-man committee to look into the notty issues as per the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) and their over six-month strike which had paralysed activities at Nigerian varsities.

Ben Goong, the Spokesperson of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu disclosed this at a press conference at the end of the meeting between the Federal Government, Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors of public universities on Tuesday in Abuja.

This development comes as Adamu on Tuesday revealed ASUU has rejected FG’s offer of 23.5 percent salary increase “for all category of the workforce in Federal Universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35% upward review.”

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Highlighting the Federal Government’s efforts to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by ASUU since February 14 at a press conference, Tuesday, Adamu said the government had also promised that a sum of N150 billion “shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget as funds for the revitalization of Federal Universities, to be disbursed to the Institutions in the First Quarter of the year.”

The Education Minister also said the government pledged a sum of N50 billion that would be provided “for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding areas of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the First Quarter of the year.”

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But Adamu revealed that ASUU and three other university unions who had been on strike, rejected the offer, describing it “as inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system.”

This was revealed amid reports that the union is seeking over a 100 percent increase in salaries.

While other unions – NASU, SSANU and NAAT – have subsequently suspended their industrial action after further negotiations with the government, ASUU has instead extended its strike indefinitely.

“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance,” the Minister said.

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On the ‘no work, no pay’ policy, the Adamu said that remains a major obstacle in the negotiations.

“In the spirit of sincerity, Government made it clear that it would not break the law,” Minister Adamu said.

“And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”

Meanwhile, members of the new 14-man committee raised by FG are Prof. Nimmi Briggs, Chairman, ASUU/FG negotiation team, Prof. Olu Obafemi, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal University, Minna, and Udo Udoma, former Minister of Budget and National Planning.

Others include Prof.  Bashir Dalhatu, an elder statesman, Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Prof. Lilian Salami, Vice Chancellor, University of Benin.

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Also, Prof. Duro Oni, the President, Academics of letters, Prof. Akinsanya Osibogun, President, Academics of Medicine and the President of Academic of Science made the list.

Prof. Charles Igwe, Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar and Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, are also included.

“After enormous two-hours deliberations, the meeting constituted a committee made up of four Pro-Chancellors, five Vice Chancellors and others, to be chaired by the minister of education to further look at the grey areas ASUU is demanding, particularly the areas where there has been no consensus.” Ben Goong, Adamu’s Spokesperson said, Tuesday.

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He Continued: “As I speak to you, that committee is meeting and they will proceed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the outcome of the deliberations of that committee.

“Two basic areas that the committee will be looking at is the ‘no work no pay’ issue and the issue of remuneration of university lecturers.”

On the demand of ASUU to use the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, Mr Goong explained that it was not part of the areas under consideration as government had already set up a committee to fine-tune the two payment platforms including the existing IPPIS.

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He said that in few days’ time, the committee would conclude and thereafter meet with President Muhammad Buhari.

On if the earlier Nimi Briggs committee would be jettison in place of the new committee, Goong said the new committee was in continuation of the Briggs committee.

“The meeting is on government side. There has been appeals for the government to take a second look at the ‘no work, no pay’ measure and that is one of the issues that the committee will look at,” he said.

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