Prof. Saliu Moyosore Ajao, Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) Chapter, has once again urged stakeholders, particularly parents, to press the Federal Government to resolve the Union’s ongoing strike, which has resulted in the closure of federal universities in the country since February 14, 2022.
Prof. Ajao stated this last Wednesday (September 28, 2022) while appearing on a radio programme in Ilorin, noting that it was past time for parents and other organised bodies to put pressure on the Federal Government to give the matter the much-needed critical attention it is currently receiving.
The Union leader, who noted that even though the case is in court, much could still be done in the best interests of all to ensure that students, who are supposed to be learning, return to their various campuses to complete, continue, or begin their various academic programmes, as the case may be.
Prof. Ajao expressed confidence that by the time parents voiced their concerns, the Federal Government would move quickly to end the impasse once and for all.
While expressing his belief that Nigeria is not too poor to fund the country’s educational system as expected, the don lamented that university teachers’ salaries are too low in comparison to their colleagues in other fields.
He added that the Federal Government’s decision to implement the “no work, no pay” policy, which informed the nonpayment of their salaries since February, is not in line with reality, as he explained that staff members of research institutions that have been on strike for more than a year have been receiving their salaries as and when due, while “staff of the nation’s moribund refineries that have not refined a drop of oil for a long time are still receiving their pay regullarly.”
Prof. Ajao, who noted that while members of his Union have not been teaching since the strike began, they have faithfully carried out other cardinal responsibilities expected of academics, such as research and community service.
As a result, he stated that the government has no reason not to pay lecturers’ salaries, arguing that insisting on the “no work, no pay” policy would only delay the resolution of the industrial dispute.
The distinguished Professor of Anatomy added that the Union went on strike not only to improve the welfare of its members, but also to ensure that the nation’s university system improves the quality of its services and products.
Prof. Ajao reminded the government and other stakeholders that the quality of the nation’s educational system’s products could not be better than the system that produced them, and that stakeholders should work with the government to ensure that the available facilities in the nation’s universities compare favourably with those in their peers around the world.
He went on to say that he and many other members of the striking Union have children and wards who are on strike, and that it would be their pleasure if the strike was resolved as soon as possible and in the interests of peace and justice.
ASUU’s official website: asuu.org.ng