Prof. Moyosore Ajao, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin (Unilorin) Chapter, has called on stakeholders, particularly parents, to prevail on the Federal Government to resolve the ongoing strike by the union.
Making the appeal while speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Monday, Ajao observed that the strike had led to the closure of federal universities in the country since Feb. 14.
He noted that it was high time parents and other organised bodies pressurised the federal government to give the matter the much-needed critical attention instead of the lip service it is currently paying.
The union leader, who noted that even though the matter is in court, a lot could still be done in the interest of all to ensure that students, who are supposed to be learning, return to their various campuses.
He emphasised the need for students to conclude, continue or commence their various academic programmes as the case might be.
Ajao expressed optimism that by the time parents add their voices to the issue, the federal government would expedite action towards resolving the logjam once and for all.
He also expressed the belief that Nigeria was not too poor to fund the nation’s educational system as expected, while lamenting that the salaries being paid to university teachers are too low compared to what their colleagues in other fields earn.
He added that the decision of the federal government to apply the policy of “no work no pay”, which informed the non-payment of their salaries since February, was not in tune with reality.
He explained that staff members of research institutions that have been on strike for more than a year have been receiving their salaries as at when due, while “staff of the nation’s moribund refineries that had not refined a drop of oil for a long time are still getting their pay regularly”.
The ASUU leader pointed out that though members of his Union had not been teaching since the strike commenced, they have been religiously carrying out other cardinal responsibilities expected of academics such as research and community services.
He, therefore, said that the government has no reason not to pay the salaries of lecturers, saying that insistence on the application of “no work no pay” will only worsen the resolution of the industrial dispute.
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Ajao, a Professor of Anatomy, added that the union did not go into the strike for the betterment of the welfare of its members only, but to ensure that the nation’s university system witness improvement in the quality of its services and products.
He reminded the government and other stakeholders that the quality of the products of the nation’s educational system could not be better than that of the system which produced them.
“Stakeholders should work on government to ensure that the available facilities in the nation’s universities compare favourably with those in their peers across the world,” he urged.
According to him, many members of ASUU also have their children and wards in the universities on strike.
He therefore said that it would be their pleasure if the strike was resolved soonest and in the interest of peace and justice. (NAN)