The federal government says it can only afford a 23.5 percent salary increase for lecturers of all categories, except professors.
Adamu Adamu, minister of education, said this on Tuesday at a meeting with pro-chancellors and vice-chancellors of federal universities on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Speaking at the meeting, which was held in Abuja, Adamu said aside from the salary increment, the government made other offers regarding the demands of ASUU.
“That the federal government can only afford a 23.5% salary increase for all categories of the workforce in federal universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35% upward review,” he said.
“That henceforth allowances that pertain to ad-hoc duties of the academic and non-academic staff shall be paid as at when due by the Governing Councils of Universities to which such services are rendered and to the staff who perform them.
“That a sum of N150 billion shall be provided for in the 2023 budget as funds for the revitalisation of federal universities, to be disbursed to the institutions in the first quarter of the year.
“That a sum of N50 billion shall be provided for in the 2023 budget for the payment of outstanding areas of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the first quarter of the year.”
The minister, however, said ASUU and other unions — Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) — rejected the offer on salary increase.
“The four university-based unions, in separate letters addressed to the chairman of the government re-negotiating team, rejected government’s offer, which they described as inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system,” he said.
Adamu added that following the development, he held meetings with the unions, after which the joint action committee of NASU, SSANU and NAAT called off its strike.
He, however, said the federal government remains committed to addressing ASUU’s demands in the effort to ensure that students resume studies soon.
At a media briefing after the meeting, Ben Goong, spokesperson to the education minister, said a 14-member committee has been set up to address the “grey areas” relating to the demands by ASUU.
He listed members of the committee to include Nimi Briggs, chairman, ASUU/federal government negotiation team; Olu Obafemi, chairman, governing council, Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna; Udo Udoma, former minister of budget and national planning; and Bashir Dalhatu, an elder statesman.
Others are Kabiru Bala, vice-chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Kayode Adebowale, vice-chancellor, University of Ibadan; Lilian Salami, vice-chancellor, University of Benin; Duro Oni, president, Nigerian Academy of Letters; and Akinsanya Osibogun, president, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.
Charles Igwe, vice-chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Ishaq Oloyede, registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB); and Abubakar Rasheed, executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), are also listed as members of the committee.
“After enormous two-hour deliberations, the meeting constituted a committee made up of four pro-chancellors, five vice-chancellors and others, to be chaired by the minister of education to further look at the grey areas ASUU is demanding, particularly the areas where there have been no consensus,” Goong said.
“As I speak to you, that committee is meeting and they will proceed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the outcome of the deliberations of that committee.
“Two basic areas that the committee will be looking at is the ‘no work no pay’ issue and the issue of remuneration of university lecturers.
“The meeting is on government side. There have been appeals for the government to take a second look at the ‘no work, no pay’ measure and that is one of the issues that the committee will look at.