The no-work, no-pay Federal Government policy was the subject of a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities at the Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University (formerly Federal University of Agriculture) Makurdi, Benue State.
The Federal Government had, in October 2022, paid prorated salaries to the lecturers after they called off their eight-month strike, saying they only worked for 18 days and should be paid as such.
The ASUU members who converged on the south core of the institution and marched through the campus, said the protest was intended to express their frustration with the Federal Government over the half-salary and the failure to pay for the eight months and implement necessary agreements.
Addressing members of the union before the protest, the ASUU chairman, Prof. Simon Ejembi, said, “We picked Wednesday as a no-lecture day, but yet we decided that students should go to class and receive lectures just to prove to the government that we can cover whatever gap they thought we left behind.
“We did not go on strike because we wanted to go on strike, but because the government failed to do its part; so we can’t be punished for that.
“We suspended the eight-month strike on September 8 due to a court ruling, and even when we appealed the judgment, the FG insisted that we go back to work.
“For the record, each time we return to work, the FG does not speak to us again; now that we have returned, they have stopped our salary since April, and we are paid per day of work. In fact, the present government is lawless and unserious. They want students off campus because they are not interested in students being in school because their children are abroad.”
Ejembi said ASUU in all its 13 zones was embarking on the protest simultaneously and would meet at the National Executive Council level on December 2, 2022, to decide the next line of action should the perforated salary continue.
Meanwhile, the ASUU chapter at the Federal University Lokoja, has called for the removal of the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, and his education counterpart, Adamu Adamu, for their improper handling of the crisis.
The union stated this while staging a protest on the Adankolo campus of the institution on Tuesday.
The FUL branch ASUU chairman, Dr Joshua Silas, who addressed journalists, said the way the Federal Government was represented by the two ministers had revealed that they were out to destroy public universities.
He said, “We are calling on you, Mr President, to remove the ministers before they destroy our educational system. They want to turn university lecturers into casual workers. This government wants to destroy public institutions.”
Asked what the next line of action would be if the president refused to give in to their demands, Silas said the decision was for the NEC to make.