By Adesina Wahab
The peace accord brokered between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the federal government by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, involves the payment of a part of the eight months’ salaries withheld by the government to the lecturers, investigation by Vanguard has shown.
A copy of the draft agreement endorsed by Gbajabiamila and the ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, sighted by our correspondent, showed that after visiting President Muhammadu Buhari, the Speaker came to meet the national leadership of ASUU and agreed to the payment of a part of the salaries.
The document was dated October 12, 2022 and was titled “Resolution reached between the leadership of the House of Representatives led by the Honourable Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Academic Staff Union of Universities on 12th October 2022 in the Office of the Speaker.”
The fifth item on the resolution was titled “Withheld salaries,” and it reads thus: The no work no pay policy of government remains a subsisting policy for all industrial actions, but government will on special grounds make a concession to the Academic Staff Union of Universities to pay a part of its salaries during the strike period.”
The grey areas are that it was not stated how many months of the salaries would be paid and when.
The issue of the payment of the salaries was part of the demands made by the union from the government to end the strike.
Other demands are: Immediate signing of the Renegotiated 2009 Agreement, a new salary structure that would allow a professor at bar to earn N1,116,548.35 monthly, payment of arrears of Earned Academic Allowance, release of government white paper on the 2021 visitation panels report to federal universities.
Others are, intervention of the House by drafting a bill to empower the National Universities Commission, NUC, to stop proliferation of universities especially by state governors, the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information system, IPPIS, as the payment platform in the university sector.
After meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Speaker met the ASUU leadership and informed them that the FG agreed to the upward review of their salary and that N170 billion had been provided for that in the 2023 budget and N300 billion earmarked for revitalisation fund in the same budget.
The House also promised to address the issue of Earned Academic Allowance in the 2023 budget and that the reports of the visitation panels would be submitted to the House.
Recall that ASUU recently accused Gbajabiamila of deceiving them to call off the strike when the terms of agreement would not be honoured,especially, the issue of the payment of the withheld salaries.
The House came out to say that the Speaker did not extract such agreement from the President or promise the lecturers same.