Henry Tyohemba (Leadership)
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has come under strong condemnation from two civil society groups over its decision to keep students at home with its demand for the payment of six salaries when the teachers were out of class.
The minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, recently threatened that members of the union would not receive salaries for the months they had been on strike.
However, ASUU said its members will begin lectures from the 2022/2023 session and forgo unfinished academic sessions lost during the strike, if the government failed to pay the backlog of their salaries.
But the Nigerian Project Initiative (NPI) and the Initiative to Save Democracy (ISD), in a joint statement yesterday, expressed outrage on the determination of the lecturers to keep the students at home over their demand for money that they didn’t work for.
The CSOs described the demand by ASUU to be paid for the months its members were on strike as self-centred and vexatious.
Mohammed Umar Salihu, chairman of NPI and Akinloye James, ISD chairman said this in the joint statement.
“It is particularly provoking that other unions in the academic community pursuing almost the same goals have decided to go back to work but ASUU members rather than follow suit are demanding payment for work that they did not do.
“Which employer does that? If for example the government were to heed them, would that not be a recipe for disaster as NASU and SSANU which have agreed to go back to work would now resort to strike to demand the same salaries that they forfeited during the strike?
“It is a rule in industrial relations that unions keep a strike fund and ASUU through its president has admitted that they have been paying their union members. So, it is thus apparent that ASUU by its demand is now seeking double pay for its members for work not done.”
“For the sake of our students who have missed out on account of the strike we expect ASUU to rush back to work at this time and look forward towards repairing the damage that has been done through the strike instead of resorting to financial blackmail,” the two groups said.
Vowing to mobilise other civil society groups for a showdown against ASUU, the two groups said:
“ASUU has lost it this time and we dare say that if by this week that ASUU sticks on to its selfish demands we would be compelled to lay siege to ASUU offices across the country given that all men of good conscience are against ASUU,” the groups concluded.