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Education Blues: ASUU insists on payment of salary backlog as strike continues

President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU

*The Academic Staff Union of Universities maintains without the payment of backlog of arrears, the Federal Government should forget any unfinished academic sessions in Nigerian public Universities

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent meeting between the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government, ending in a deadlock, the former has insisted on  the latter’s payment of the salary backlog to lecturers current on strike in Nigeria.

ConsumerConnect reports the leadership of ASUU has maintained that without the move towards payment of the said arrears, the government should forget any unfinished academic sessions in the country’s public Universities.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the academic union, who stated this  Friday, August 19, 2022, explained though public universities have been shut since February this year, the lecturers should be paid since they have to teach to make up for time lost during the closure.

Osodeke said this in an interview on Channels TV, following the government’s insistence on non-payment for the lecturers over the continued industrial action  in the country.

Between ASUU and other unions, by Osodeke

The ASUU President noted: “Let me tell you the difference between ASUU and other Labour unions. “When other unions go on strike and come back, all those periods for which you are on strike, you don’t need to do the backlog of work.

“But for ASUU, when we go back today, we are going to start from the 2020/2021 session.”

Osodeke also stated: “For these two sets of students that have been admitted by JAMB, we have to teach them over these periods to ensure that we meet up with the system.

“So, we are going to do the backlog of the work we have left behind.

“We are not going to start today and say, ‘This session is 2022/2023, therefore, all these two sets of people that have been admitted by JAMB are cancelled.

“We have to take another admission for the 2023/2024 session’.”

Federal Government’s decision

The Nigerian Government, however, has maintained its stance on the non-payment of salary backlog, members of the union are not obliged to make up for the lost academic time, noted he.

However, ASUU President said: “If we agree on that, therefore, the lectures we should have given [to students] for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 [sessions], they should be allowed to go, so we start a new session 2022/2023 within September, which is when a new session should start.

“Therefore, by July next year, I would go on my leave as we used to have in those days so that the backlog is gone.

“All the lectures that remain; all the two sets of admissions that JAMB has given that are waiting should become irrelevant.”

He further stated that ASUU does not need a pity party over the government’s withholding of the lecturers’ wages over the past six months.

According to Osodeke, the academic union “can take care” of its members.

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