(ASUU) Issues Ultimatum to Federal Government Over Withheld Salaries

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has issued a two-week ultimatum to the administration of President Bola Tinubu, demanding the payment of public university lecturers’ withheld salaries.
ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke expressed frustration over the Federal Government’s partial payment of withheld salaries from 2022, highlighting that lecturers were paid for only four out of the seven and a half months’ worth of salaries withheld.
“It’s not about paying four months out of the seven-and-a-half months’ withheld salaries,” said Osodeke during a program on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily program yesterday. He emphasized that public universities have covered the workload for the period during the 2022 strike, and therefore, lecturers should be fully compensated.
Osodeke pointed out that all Nigerian universities are currently in the 2023/2024 academic year, and by September/October, they will move into the 2024/2025 academic year. This means that the work from the strike period has been completed.
“None of our members have gone on leave in the past three to four years. We have not gone on vacation so that we can cover the work that we didn’t do while we were on strike. But when you say you are paying four out of seven-and-a-half months, I don’t think you are being fair to us,” Osodeke stated.
In 2022, academic and non-academic unions in Nigeria went on an eight-month strike to demand better welfare packages. The then President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration implemented a ‘no work, no pay’ policy against the unions.
However, in October 2023, President Bola Tinubu approved the release of four months’ worth of the withheld salaries. ASUU members were paid, but members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) were not compensated.
Osodeke insisted that ASUU members must be fully paid for the entire period of the 2022 industrial action, arguing that the Tinubu administration has not done lecturers any favors by releasing only part of the withheld salaries.
He criticized the government for awarding road contracts worth trillions while failing to pay the comparatively modest sum required for university workers’ salaries.
“If a government can award contracts of ₦15 or ₦13 trillion naira to construct a road and we are asking for just ₦200bn for Nigerian universities, they should have money for us,” he asserted.
The ASUU president also raised concerns about the lack of a functional Governing Council in universities, which has led to illegal contracts and recruitments over the past 11 months since the National Universities Commission (NUC) dissolved the councils on President Tinubu’s directive.
Osodeke concluded by stating that there has been no formal meeting between ASUU and the current government, and the union is prepared to take further action if their demands are not met within the two-week ultimatum.
“The negotiation of the agreement that started in 2017 should be concluded, the dissolved Governing Councils should be reinstated, and owed earned academic allowances should be paid,” he emphasized.
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