Were they just trying to see how they would save money by ensuring the strike lingers for such a long time?
President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, has said the Nigerian education minister, Adamu Adamu deliberately delayed negotiations with the sole aim of saving money for fuel subsidy.
The university lecturers’ union, ASUU on February 14 began an industrial action which has extended to six months over poor funding of education among other issues.
Osodeke during an interview on Channels TV on Friday said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately delayed negotiations with the union so the government could save some funds to take care of fuel subsidy instead of rescuing university education.
He said, “They have deliberately, especially this minister, delayed the process of negotiations with the sole aim of perhaps to save money because they believe that by keeping us at home and at the end which they never mentioned before and say ‘No Work, No pay’, they will save money.
“Were they just trying to see how they would save money by ensuring the strike lingers for such a long time? That’s the impression we are having, that they deliberately kept this strike this long so that they can say we will not pay you. I think using that to see that maybe they can save money to pay their fuel subsidy.
“It’s so sad that you are allowing the children of the poor to stay at home just because you want to save money to pay fuel subsidy or whatever they are talking about.”
Speaking on the ‘No work, No pay’ policy that the Nigerian government has adopted, Osodeke said the academic union is different from other unions as lecturers will have a lot of work to do after school resumption from the backlog of work carried over from the wasted months so as to meet up with the system.
“When you go on strike and you come back, all those periods for which you were on strike, you don’t need to go and do the backlog. But for ASUU, when we go back today, we are going to start from the 2020/2021 session.
“All these two sets of students that have been admitted by JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board); we have to teach them over this period to ensure that we meet up with the system so we are going to do the backlog of the work that we have left behind.
“That’s the difference between the two unions, we are going back to do the work,” he said.
He also added that the admissions already done by JAMB for students should be cancelled and that a new session should be open if the government insists on ‘No-Work, No-Pay’.
He said, “If we agree on that; therefore, all the students we should have taught for 2020/2021, they be allowed to go so we will start for a new session 2022/2023 with effect from September which is now a new session to start.
“And therefore, by July next year, we will go on leave as we used to have in those days so the backlog is gone. All the lectures that are remaining, all the two sets of admissions that JAMB has done that are waiting, they become irrelevant.
“If you say ‘no work, no pay’, also accept ‘no pay, no work’.
“We are not paid per time, we are paid by work done. That’s to say ‘no work, no pay’, no time no pay. Get it right, we are paid for work done, we are not paid for the time.”