Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, said it’s ridiculous to pay the Academic Staff Union of Universities salary while on strike.
As reported by The PUNCH, ASUU started a one-month warning strike on February 14, 2022, and hasn’t lifted it since.
During a phone interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, Nwajiuba said, “The lecturers have continued to earn salaries while on strike; it doesn’t make sense to earn salaries when you have refused to work.”
“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.”
According to Mohammed Ibrahim, President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, the Federal Government focuses on frivolous things while neglecting the education sector and youth.
During the celebration of 2022 May Day, Ibrahim said that the quality of education has continued to decline after universities were forced to close down due to government pretense.
He said, “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 a good teaching, learning and work environment through lack of basic facilities that will make them compete favourably 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.’’