ASUU Strike: There's Light At End Of The Tunnel - Osodeke
ASUU national president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke

ASUU Strike: We Won’t Resume Until Govt Pays Salary Backlog – Osodeke

2 years ago
2 mins read

The ongoing strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may continue to linger if the Nigerian government refuses to pay the salary arrears of the members, says Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU national president.

The government has held the salaries of lecturers in public universities since the strike began in February, citing ‘no work no pay.’

Osodeke who appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme on Friday morning argued that the lecturers should be paid the salary backlog because they are going to teach and do all required academic activities to make up for the lost time during the closedown.

His comment is in reaction to the government’s insistence on non-payment of the salary arrears to the ASUU members.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had issued a statement indicating that the government would not yield to ASUU’s demand for the backlog of their salaries withheld within the period of the strike.

Explaining the condition of their work and why they should be paid, the ASUU president said, “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. 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,” Osodeke explained.

The ASUU national president further stated if the government maintains its stance on the non-payment of salary backlog, members of the union are not obliged to make up for the lost academic time.

“If we agree on that, therefore, the lectures we should have given for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022, 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,” Osodeke added.

The ASUU chief said that the union can “take care” of its members if the government continues to withhold their salaries and does not need a pity party over that.

There appears to be no end in sight to the strike that has lingered for six months as the Tuesday meeting between ASUU and the Federal Government representatives to resolve outstanding issues, ended in deadlock. Osodeke said the government did not make any significant commitment at the meeting for the strike to be called off.

The major demands of the union include the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, the release of the revitalisation fund, and a halt to the proliferation of universities, among others.

Osodeke recently disclosed that UTAS has been approved for use in the university system.


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