ASUU continues to protest, and says NEC will decide its next move

The federal government’s no-work and pay policy was the subject of a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday by members of the University Faculty Union of Joseph Sarwan Tarka University (formerly Federal University of Agriculture) Makurdi, Benue State.

The federal government, in October 2022, paid the lecturers pro rata salaries after they called off their eight-month strike, saying they had only worked 18 days and should be paid as such.

Converged in the institution’s southern core and marched across campus, ASUU members said the protest was meant to express frustration with the federal government over half-pay and not paying for the eight months and carrying out necessary agreements.

Addressing union members ahead of the protest, ASU President Professor Simon Ijembe said, “We chose Wednesday as a day without lectures, but we decided that the students would go to class and take lectures just to prove to the government that we could cover any gap they thought we left behind.”

“We did not strike because we wanted to strike, but because the government failed to do its part; therefore we cannot be punished for it.

“We ended the eight-month strike on September 8 based on a court ruling, and even when we appealed the ruling, FG insisted we return to work.

“For the record, every time we go back to work, the FG team don’t speak to us again; now that we’re back, they’ve stopped paying us since April, and we’ve been getting paid for every working day. In fact, the current government is outlawed and not serious. They want off-campus students because they are not interested in students being in school because their children are outside.”

Ijembe said ASU in all 13 of its districts were going off in protest simultaneously and would meet at the national executive board level on December 2, 2022, to determine the next course of action should the pierced salary persist.

Meanwhile, the ASU chapter of Federal University of Lokoja has called for the removal of the Minister of Labor, Dr. Chris Ngigi, and his education counterpart, Adamu Adamu, for their improper handling of the crisis.

The union made the announcement while holding a protest at the Adankolo campus of the institution on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters, ASU chapter president Dr. Joshua Silas said the way the federal government was represented by the two ministers revealed they were out to destroy public universities.

He said, “We call on you, Mr. President, to remove the ministers before they destroy our education system. They want to turn university professors into casual workers. This government wants to destroy public institutions.”

Asked about the next line of action if the president refuses to accede to their demands, Silas said it is up to the NEC to decide.

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