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ASUU: FG approves 35% salary increase for professors, 23.5% for lecturers

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AS part of measures to end the nearly seven-month-old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Nigerian government on Tuesday approved a 35 per cent salary increase for professors in the nation’s federal universities.

The government also approved 23.5 per cent increase for lecturers in the institutions.

The Federal Government also pledged to give the federal universities N150 billion in the first quarter of 2023 for refurbishment and another N50 billion for the payment of outstanding academic staff allowances.


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But the government said it would never, again, go into any agreement it does not have the resources to implement.

Speaking at a meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities, held at the National Universities Commission (NUC), the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said the government was determined to end the strike.

He highlighted various steps the government took to end the strike since February 14, when ASUU downed tools.

According to him, the Federal Government could only pay a “23.5 per cent salary increase for all categories of the workforce in federal universities, except for the professorial cadre, which will enjoy a 35 per cent upward review.”

He said the government was conscious of not signing an agreement it would later fail to fulfil in order to avoid “past mistakes”.

“In all we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, the government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement.

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“Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions,” he stated about past strikes by ASUU over unimplemented past agreements with the government.

The ICIR reported that ASUU had gone on strike for over 600 days since May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari took over power over unimplemented agreements with the union, especially the one the government made in 2009.

Adamu, at the meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that ASUU and other university workers’ unions had gone on strike this year, forcing the suspension of academic and other activities and sending students home.

“To compound matters further, the three other university non-teaching staff unions, SSANU, NASU and NAAT, also declared trade disputes against the federal government and commenced nationwide industrial actions a few weeks later.

“NAAT started its strike on March 17, 2022, while the Joint Action Committee of SSANU and NASU followed suit on March 27, 2022.

“In response to the union’s demands, the federal government reconstituted the FGN/University-based Unions 2009 Agreement Renegotiation Committee, with Professor Nimi Briggs as Chairman, on March 7, 2022.

“The committee was responsible for concluding the ongoing federal government renegotiation efforts with the university-based unions and producing appropriate solutions, workable and enduring agreements for the improvement of the Nigerian University System (NUS).”

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The ICIR reports that while the government agreed to pay a 35 per cent pay rise for professors and 23.5 for other workers, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) asked the government to pay the professors N800, 000, which is about 50 per cent increase in their current salary.

The Briggs committee had recommended N1.2 million.

Also, at the Tuesday meeting, the government constituted a committee to look into the recommendations of the Briggs’ committee in charge of renegotiating the 2009 agreement between the government and the university staff unions.

The committee, chaired by the minister, has chancellors, pro-chancellors and other stakeholders as members.

It is unclear if ASUU will accept the current offers by the government.

ASUU president, Emmanuel Osodeke, could not be reached on the telephone Wednesday morning for comments on the offers.

The ICIR reported on September 3 that since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, ASUU had suspended work for 57 months (nearly five years).

That is more than the four years many students spend earning degrees in universities.

While strikes drag, many students grow beyond the 30 years required by the law to participate in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and are disqualified from the programme.

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