Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has accused the Federal Government of trying to break its ranks by selecting some medical lecturers for payment of their withheld salaries, while other academic staff are left unattended to.
Specifically, the union said medical lecturers at the Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto have been paid seven months salaries, accusing the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, of favouring his professional colleagues.
In a statement by the chairperson, ASUU, UDUS, M. N Almustapha and the Secretary, S. A Sadiku, the union noted that such action would not augur well for the university system.
Also speaking in a chat with Vanguard yesterday, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the minister to order.
“I am aware of what is going on. The minister just wants to create more problems and Nigerians should take note. They are pushing us again to the point of taking drastic action. ”We have not been paid for eight months and we have resumed for about a month now. Those who impress it upon us to suspend the strike should take note also, “he said.
When contacted about whether his members had been paid, the National Secretary of the Congress of University Academics, CONUA, Dr Henry Oripeloye, said no member of his union had been paid any salary.
” We have not been paid any salary. And regarding the claim that medical lecturers in Sokoto have been paid, I cannot confirm that but a few days ago, I was in touch with one of their leaders and he said their members have not been paid too, ” he stated.
Efforts to get Dr Peter, the National Treasurer of MDCAN to react were futile as his line was not connecting.
ASUU UDUS in the statement said: “Recall also that, on the 14th of July, 2022, the Minister of Labour and Employment granted an interview on Arise TV, where he stated, quote “Medical lecturers are at work, they are teaching.
”Sokoto has graduated their medical students, they are reasonable people, they have tested the strike, and saw that it produces no result, yes they did it the last time. So, today, they have written, their vice-chancellor has approved that they are at work.”
“This claim by the Minister, after careful investigation and consultation with the Vice Chancellor, the Provost of the College of Health Sciences and the Chairman, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, UDUTH Branch, was found to be false. Thus, on the 17th of July, 2022, the Branch addressed a press conference at the NUJ Secretariat, Sokoto to refute the claim by the Minister. During the said conference, the Branch categorically and unequivocally stated that no member of the mentioned body in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital was at work during the said period.