THE Federal Government has said the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has not been resolved because the lecturers are insisting on being paid for six months they were on strike.
Minister of Education Adamu Adamu disclosed this on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa.
According to him, other issues aside from the payment of the withheld salary have been resolved.
“All contentious issues between the government and ASUU had been settled except the quest for members’ salaries for the period of strike, a demand that Buhari has flatly rejected,” he said.
Adamu further stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari rejected the demand in order to curb the excesses of trade unions that want to be paid for sitting at home.
According to Adamu, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment system proposed by ASUU outscored the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He added that IPPIS has been updated to now accommodate payment of those on sabbatical.
“Just one thing that I was reminded of is that even the current IPPIS has been made to accommodate sabbatical. I didn’t know this. Somebody just told me,” Adamu noted.
The minister also debunked reports that UTAS had not been approved by the government as the payment platform for university lecturers.
He said the government has proposed a new salary scale for other unions such as the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT).
According to him, the unions have accepted in principle and are now consulting with their members with a view to calling off the strike in the next one month.
Adamu applauded the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) for calling off its own strike.
The minister argued that ASUU should compensate university students for the time wasted.
According to him, students should take ASUU and other striking unions to court and claim damages over the strike.
“Who do you assume will compensate the students? The Federal Government? No. Probably you should take the leaders of striking unions to court to pay them. Yes. Probably the court will award damages and then we’ll see how they pay,” he said.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: email@example.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M