The Federal Government has begun the payment of withheld salaries of lecturers under the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU).

The Director Press in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr. Bawa Mokwa, confirmed the development to The Nation yesterday in Abuja.

Mokwa said the government released two months’ salary arrears to the affected lecturers at the weekend while another tranche of two months’ salary was slated to be released to them later yesterday.

The director said the government had resolved to offset the eight months’ salary arrears of the university lecturers who embarked on an eight-month strike under former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The OAGF spokesman assured the lecturers that the remaining four months’ salary arrears would be settled but did not say when this happen.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari invoked a “No Work, No Pay policy” against some university lecturers who embarked on a crippling strike that lasted eight months in 2022.

Before the Federal Government started paying off the withheld salaries, members of ASUU, the umbrella body of public university lecturers, had threatened to embark on another strike, if the Federal Government failed to pay them their withheld salaries.

Mokwa said only federal university lecturers captured into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform were being paid.

He added that state universities were the responsibility of their state governments.

But ASUU Abuja Zone has decried the payment of “amputated two-month” salary to its members out of the seven and a half-month the Federal Government withheld.

Its Zonal Coordinator Salahu Lawal announced this while addressing reporters yesterday in in Abuja.

President Bola Tinubu had, last October, approved the release of four of the eight-month withheld ASUU members’ salaries.

The union said despite the President’s order for the release and payment of their withheld salaries, some members had reported receiving an amputated two-month salaries.

Lawal said: “This is far below the expectation of the union and further weakens the morale of our members and the union’s trust in government promises.

“We use this medium to call on all that are involved in this inglorious act to do the needful with regard to lecturers’ withheld salaries as there is nothing more to prove.”

He urged the Federal Government to conclude, sign and immediately implement the report of Prof. Nimi Briggs Committee on Renegotiated Agreement and immediately pay all the withheld salaries, promotion arrears and EAAs.

Also, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has condemned the Federal Government’s plan to pay only ASUU members their withheld salaries over the 2022 strike.

If the government pays only ASUU members, those of NAAT, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions would be left out.

Already, SSANU and NASU have written to the Chief of Staff to the President to protest their exclusion from the payment.

In a statement by its President, Ibeji Nwokoma, and General Secretary, Abubakar Yusuf, the NAAT said the government’s action was unfair, unjust, and a recipe for an industrial crisis in the universities.

The union said it was informed that the government directed the OAGF to effect the payment of the withheld salaries to only ASUU members, contrary to the pronouncement of the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, at a high-level stakeholders’ meeting on January 11.

It said the minister had assured that the government had concluded arrangements on the payment of withheld salaries to all members of university-based unions in federal universities and the implementation of the new salary structure of 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary increase for all workers in tertiary institutions.

The NAAT said the minister’s promise was at variance with the government’s action to pay only ASUU members the withheld salaries.

This, the union said, was creating a charged atmosphere and preparing the ground for the disruption of academic activities on the campuses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *