The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government on Saturday explained why it failed to pay full salaries to lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
In a statement, by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the government noted that members of ASUU were paid their October salary pro-rata.
According to the ministry, pro-rata was done because they cannot be paid for work not done.
The statement further clarified that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, never directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to pay the university lecturers half salaries.
The statement reads in part, “Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, asking ASUU to go back to work, the leadership of the union wrote to the Minister, informing him that they have suspended the strike. The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to him in a similar vein and our labour inspectors in various states also confirmed that they have resumed work.
So, the Minister wrote to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, directing that their salaries should be restored. They were paid in pro-rata for the number of days that they worked in October, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action. Pro-rata was done because you cannot pay them for work not done. Everybody’s hands are tied.”
Ugamatv had on Thursday reported that the government paid half salaries for 18 working days in the month of October.
This was confirmed by some lecturers and senior members of ASUU on Thursday.
Ugamatv earlier reported how ASUU called off its eight-month-old strike on October 14, 2022, where lecturers were encouraged to resume to work by the union on that same day.
A senior member of the ASUU National Executive Council was quoted saying, “We were only paid for the days after the strike. I received a half salary. Other members are angry right now, they are blaming the NEC for calling off the strike.”
Another member, who confirmed the development, said, “Yes, it is true, I received half salary. It seems the government is set to kill unionism in the country but we are ready for them.”
Ugamatv in September reported how the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) faulted the ruling of the National Industrial Court ordering the striking members of ASUU to call off their ongoing strike and resume work.
The Nigerian government had filed a suit before the industrial court against ASUU, and in a judgment on the Nigerian government’s interlocutory injunction, Justice Polycarp Hamman stopped ASUU from continuing with the strike until the case was resolved.
Reacting to the court order, Sowore questioned the rationality behind the order asking ASUU to go back to work on an empty stomach, as the government had insisted on a “No Work, No Pay” policy.