The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to remain calm over their claim of half salary payment by the Federal Government.
In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Monday, the speaker noted that efforts are on to find lasting solutions to the concerns often raised by ASUU. He said President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed interest in digging into the latest concerns raised by unions.
“When ASUU called off its strike action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities,” he said. He said the administration and the House of Representatives had worked to address the issues that led to the protests. He added that the council is currently working on the 2023 budget appropriation bill.
This, he said, includes 170 billion naira to provide a level of increase in the social protection program for university professors. He said the bill included an additional N300 billion recovery fund to improve the infrastructure and operations of the federal universities.
“In addition, the House of Representatives convened the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), ASUU and other stakeholders to promote the implementation of elements of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and HR Information System (IPPIS). ),” he said.
He said the effort is being overseen by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Tertiary Education, MP Aminu Suleiman.
However, Gbajabiamila noted that the executive’s position that it was not obliged to pay teachers’ salaries during the strike was based on the law.
He said that this decision is also based on the legitimate interest of the government in preventing moral hazard and discouraging destructive industrial activities. The speaker said an intervention was being made to explore the possibility of partial payments to teachers. He added that he hoped to receive a satisfactory review from the chairman.
He said that Bukhari showed his desire for what was wise and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.
Gbajabiamila said the House was convening a national summit on higher education reform, adding that it had called for documents and memoranda from members of the public. He said the submissions received, as well as expert presentations at the summit, would inform policy recommendations and actions.