Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives

ASUU: Speaker urges union to remain calm, assures of Buhari’s intervention in half-salary payments

*Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, discloses that efforts are on at finding a lasting solution to the burning issue, as President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated an interest in resolving it

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As part of collective efforts at ensuring the fresh burning issue is resolved amicably and nolmacy returns to the University system, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, in the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, FCT, has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to remain calm over the claim of half-salary payments by the Federal Government.

ConsumerConnect reports Hon. Gbajabiamila made this assurance in a statement he personally signed and issued Monday, November 7, 2022.

The Speaker noted that efforts to find a lasting solution to the issue are on, as President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated an interest in wading into it.

Gbajabiamila, however, acknowledged that the position taken by the Federal Government that it was not obligated to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.

Restating his commitment to providing sustainable reforms to the Nigerian tertiary education system, the House Speaker said the challenges facing Nigerian tertiary education are multifaceted.

He, therefore, stated the need for all stakeholders to come together and proffer solutions.

A national tertiary education summit would be convened during which stakeholders would come up with ways to make things better in the sector.

Gbajabiamila said: “When the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities, and students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption.

“This decision was rightly heralded nationwide as the correct decision.

“Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives have worked to address the issues that led to the strike.

He further noted: “We are currently working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes N170 billion to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers.

“The Bill also includes additional N300 billion revitalisation funds to improve the infrastructure and operations of federal universities.”

He also stated: “Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. “We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.

“Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially when appropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are required.”

Gbajabiamila added: “Therefore, I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives.

“This is not a time for political brinkmanship. There is no more pressing objective than to preclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academic calendar of the universities.

“We must prevent this possibility by all means, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of our nation’s youth.”

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