• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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ASUU raises alarm over high death rate among members

ASUU to FG: Release promotion arrears or risk industrial action

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has raised the alarm over reports of increasing number of Nigerian academics who have died or are currently nursing life-threatening ailments as a result of work-related stress and pauperisation.

This development according to ASUU has arisen from failed promises by governments and the general micro-economic climate of the country.

Read also: ASUU: Reps to interface with FG over 8 months unpaid salaries

Emmanuel Osodeke, a professor, and national president of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) stated this during a press conference which took place at the end of the National Executive Council meeting of the union held at Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State.

He said that the union undertook a comprehensive review of the state of its engagements with Federal and State Governments on how to reposition Nigeria’s public universities for global reckoning by arresting the worsening living and working conditions in the universities and the nation at large.
Osodeke disclosed that reports the union received, on the failed promises of the Tinubu-led administration towards addressing the lingering issues that forced the union to embark on the nationwide strike of February-October 2022 were palatable.

The union said that her demand for negotiated salary with the Federal Government was anchored on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No.98 which underscored the principle of collective bargaining pointing out that it had been without negotiated agreement with FG for the past 15 years.

The National President of ASUU pointed out that salary of the highest paid professor, has been reduced to a meagre $210.

“This is one of the least in the world. Unfortunately, even the unilateral award of 34 percent and 25 percent by despotic Buhari administration, which has been activated through the National Wages, Salaries and income Commission (NWSIC) through a circular, remains a promise in the thin air one year after.

“It appears members of the Nigerian ruling class are totally indifferent to the implications of the continued pauperisation of academics for the Nigerian dream and the future of the country,” Osodekesaid.

The Union called on the President Tinubu administration to immediately set in motion the process leading to the review and signing of Nimi Briggs led negotiated draft agreement as a mark of of goodwill and assured hope for Nigeria’s public universities.

The ASUU observed that there was no justification for withholding lecturers’ salaries if not for the grand design by the ruling class to emasculate and ridicule them.

“Nigerian academics have since made up for lost ground, covering two academic sessions in many universities within the period.

“The total sum of withheld salaries is hardly worth more than one third of its value given the massive devaluation of the Naira in the last one year,” Osodeke said.

The Union leader wondered how government that raised the hope of lecturers few months back would continue to deprive them any modicum of comfort by withholding their entitlements.