The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday said that efforts by the Nigerian government were on to find a lasting solution to fresh concerns raised by the university lecturers.
Gbajabiamila made this known while appealing to the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to remain calm in view of their latest outcry over the half salary paid to them in October.
Members of ASUU had expressed bewilderment at receiving a half salary for the month of October.
The Nigerian government later explained the reason for the payment of half salary to lecturers claiming they were paid for the number of days they worked in October.
The National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Universities are meeting in Abuja today (Monday) at the union’s headquarters at the University of Abuja.
Leaders of the Union told journalists that the lecturers would decide whether or not to resume strike following the payment of half salary by the government.
However, the Speaker, while appealing to the academic staff for calm, said President Muhammadu Buhari had indicated interest to wade into the latest concerns raised by the union.
He said; “When the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities, and students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption. This decision was rightly heralded nationwide as the correct decision.
“Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives have worked to address the issues that led to the strike. We are currently working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes N170 billion to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers. The Bill also includes additional N300 billion revitalisation funds to improve the infrastructure and operations of federal universities.
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“Furthermore, the House of Representatives has convened the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders to facilitate the adoption of elements of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). This effort is being supervised by the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education, Rep. Aminu Suleiman.”
He added “Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by President Muhammadu Buhari, who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.
“Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially when appropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are required. Therefore, I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives. This is not a time for political brinkmanship.
“There is no more pressing objective than to preclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academic calendar of the universities. We must prevent this possibility by all means, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of our nation’s youth.”
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