The Academic Staff Union University has come under fire from the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, due to the ongoing standoff between the union and the Federal Government.
The minister who spoke when he visited Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, said the ‘no work, no pay’ policy stands.
Despite the Federal Government’s best efforts to address the concerns presented by ASUU, Opiah stated they had been determined about ending the strike, which has already lasted more than 200 days and started on February 14, 2022.
He said, “The Federal Government cannot pay lecturers for what they did not work for. The strike has continued to portray the country in a bad light and has succeeded in causing more pain for parents and students.”
He said that the federal government had made significant investments in the infrastructure of all higher education institutions nationwide.
He instructed FUL Vice Chancellor Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi to urge lecturers to return to work and added that their protracted absence had harmed rather than helped Nigerian students’ futures.
He said, “The Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has done so much, especially in infrastructural development in our tertiary institution. Because anywhere you go, you will see the presence of TETFUND, buildings, vehicles and all institutional assets.
“Those who think that lack of infrastructure is one of the reasons they went on strike should think again. Mr Vice Chancellor, let me use this opportunity to appeal to you, to also appeal to our lecturers to come back to work because our children are suffering.
“Our country’s image is going lower. Our parents are unhappy, and these lecturers are also parents of some of our students. Contrary to what they think, some of us also have our Children in Nigeria Universities, and they are also suffering.
“Although, if we stay on strike forever, our Children will be out of School forever. It is not in our interest. Nothing has gone wrong that we cannot get corrected through dialogue. I know that almost everything that ASUU brought forth for discussion between the Federal Government has been resolved.
“Except that, now that ASUU wants to be paid for all the six months that they were absent from duty. And the Federal Government is saying we cannot pay for those days you did not work. Let us activate the principle of no work, no natural pay. It is only a thief that goes to eat where he didn’t work.
“And so if there should be any appeal for Federal Government to do otherwise, Lecturers should come back to the classroom to beg and appeal and renegotiate because this thing is no longer funny”.