The House of Representatives has resolved to interface with the Federal Government on the non-payment of the salaries of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the eight months they were on strike in 2022.
This is sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Paul Nnamchi and three others – Julius Ihonvbere, Lilian Orogbu and Aminu Sani Jaji, in which they argued that resolving the issue was crucial for the stability of universities, the welfare of educators, and the nation’s economy.
In his lead debate on the motion titled “Urgent need to address the untold hardship being experienced by Academic Staff Union of Universities”, they recalled that ASUU members embarked on an eight-month strike, in 2022, due to the Federal Government’s failure to honour its past agreements with the union.
Nnamchi said that the federal university lecturers were facing financial hardship due to the eight months’ outstanding salaries as a result of the ASUU strike, with adverse consequences on students and their overall wellbeing.
He cited section 17 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to buttress the lecturers’ right to express their grievances through a peaceful protest. The lawmaker said in furtherance to social order, the government’s action should be humane and in consonance with section 17(1) and subsection (2) (c) of the Nigerian Constitution.
“University lecturers play a crucial role in the education system, providing knowledge, guidance, and mentorship to future leaders, ensuring a stable and motivated academic workforce for educational institution development.
“The ASUU is a recognised body of academic professionals in Nigeria, committed to the advancement of education and research within the university system,” he said.
“Unpaid salaries can negatively affect lecturers’ morale, job satisfaction, and effective teaching, thereby affecting the quality of education provided to students; the educational success and prospects of students are intricately linked to the financial security and dedication of teachers.”
The House resolved to mandate its committees on university education, finance, appropriations, labour and productivity, and legislative compliance to interface with ASUU and the Federal Government to resolve the issues. The committees are expected to report back to the House within four weeks.