The Nigerian Government Tuesday has admitted it will pay N34 billion minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, to lecturers in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, announced this while addressing questions about the strike embarked upon by university lecturers, whose umbrella union is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Ngige said university lecturers would get N23.5 billion while their counterparts in polytechnics would be paid N6 billion.
Lecturers in colleges of education will receive N4 billion, the labour and employment minister said. He said, “Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the ASUU University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (U3PS) of the non-teaching staff.
“They coomenced the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars. The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.”
ASUU had embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14 to press home its demands, with the prominent ones being the renegotiation of the ASUU/FG 2009 agreement and the sustainability of the university autonomy by deploying UTAS to replace the government-imposed IPPIS.
Other demands include the release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities, distortions in salary payment challenges, funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowance, poor funding of state universities and promotion arrears.
On March 14, the association extended the strike action by another two months to afford the government more time to address all of its demands. The union in a statement by its President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, at the expiration of the strike action, said it would be extending the ongoing strike by another 12 weeks. One bone of contention for the striking lecturers is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.
“The Federal Government has been grossly mishandling the crisis, fielding incompetent, arrogant ministers, and treating the education sector with disdain. It has to act quickly to end the impasse, fulfil its obligations and persuade the dons to resume work immediately,” Osodeke, ASUU leader, had said.