ASUU, students, civil society groups protest Bayelsa half salary payment to lecturers
YENAGOA-THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Niger Delta University, NDU, Bayelsa Chapter, has called for the sack of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, his Education counterpart, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed for their roles in the payment of half salaries to lecturers.
They alleged that Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, his Education counterpart, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed are complicit.
The lecturers who converged in their numbers at a Special Congress at the NDU Law Campus Auditorium, Yenagoa, with solidarity from students, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, civil society groups, also marched
around the campus, carrying placards protesting the federal government half salaries payment to it members.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards reads, “We are not casual workers and we will not accept half salary”,”.IPPIS violate varsity autonomy,” “FG, state govt should not kill public universities in Nigeria,” “Children of the poor have right to university education,” among others.
Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of ASUU NDU, Prof Kingdom Tonbara, declared that the branch strongly kicked against casualization of academics, and the bastardization of public universities in the country by the federal government.
He said: “That’s the bone of contention, pro-rata salaries has reduced ASUU to casual staff. That is the bone of contention. Are we casuals, no are we are not casuals and we are not going to accept it.
“NDU ASUU is in support of our national body that children of the poor must attend
universities, a people united cannot be defeated. ASUU, students and civil society say they are in support of the struggle of ASUU.
“The federal government should look for a way to solve this problem, Chris Ngige and the Minister of Education if they cannot solve this problem, they must go. The Minister of Finance must go. How can the Accountant General take instructions from the Minister of Labour and pay our colleagues half salaries?, it is unacceptable, and so ASUU NDU is insisting, pay them all their monies. We are not casual workers and we will not accept half pay.”
In a solidarity message, the Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Bayelsa State Council, John Ndiomu, represented by the Secretary, James Adama, who condemns the payment of half salaries to lecturers, said governments at at all times are seeking to break the ranks of unions and calls for unity and cooperation among sister unions in the tertiary education sub sector.
A former ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Prof Beke Sese, in his remarks, lamented that the ASUU’s experience with the present government was one of the worst in the history of ASUU/federal government face-off, noting that the Union has never had it this bad.
“ASUU has gone on strikes in all administrations including the military era but none in the history of Nigeria encounter what we have had why we are experiencing today. We are dealing with a government that has casualized all aspects of our lives and government of discordant tunes,” he said.
Also speaking, an Environmentalist, Alagoa Morris of the Environmental Rights Action, ERA, said the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, pledges allegiance to all what ASUU is protesting against.
Morris said: “We are saying, that casualization is unacceptable and that the university education cannot be bastardized and so there is no going back. Strike is a legitimate right of all unions worldwide.”