The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) Chapter, Awka, Anambra State, on Thursday, barricaded the Enugu-Onitsha expressway, protesting the part payment of their October salaries, backlogs of 8-month salaries and other working conditions of its members, which they said are still under the Federal Government promising note.
Our Reporter gathered that the protest, kick-started at the Union Secretariat down to the University gate by the Enugu-Onitsha highway, where the road was barricaded by the protesters for some minutes as one of their ways to inform the public about their working conditions.
Speaking to Journalists, shortly after the protest, Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh, the chairman of ASUU-Unizik, said that the aim of the protest was also to remind the Federal Government to implement the agreement it entered with ASUU after the Union suspended her 2020 industrial action.
He demanded that the Federal Government should consider the re-negotiated document of the 2009 condition of services of its members, a payment platform for Universities workers to all public Universities in Nigeria, improvement of funds to the education sector especially, for public Universities, the white paper publication of the Judicial panel report to various Universities to enable us to know what the reports are all about and the Federal Government should enact a law to control the proliferation of State Universities by the State Government without proper funding.
He said “As I speak to you, the intervention of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, has not yielded for any positive resort. We are yet to see the outcome of his intervention.
“What the Federal Government has been saying all this while is still under promising note.
“We suspended the strike because of individuals intervention and the Court of Appeal Judgement.
We are using this protest to ask the masses to appeal to the government to do the needful now, to avert a further crisis in the nation’s universities, Ufoaroh concluded.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Esimone, in his solidarity message, said his heart is currently bleeding because of the deplorable condition the Lecturers are working under in Nigeria’s education system.
According to the VC, “Nigerian professors’ salary is currently less than 500 dollars. That is terrible. The government knows that in terms of knowledge and human capacity, Nigerian lecturers can not be compared to other places in the World. So why should they be subjected to this kind of deplorable condition they found themselves?” he asked.
While declaring 100 per cent support for the ASUU course, Prof. Esimone, assured the lecturers that the University Management under his leadership will not take their welfare for granted.
He also assured the lecturers that he will minute their demands to the varsity’s governing council, which in turn the governing council, will make a strong statement to the Federal Government for urgent consideration.
The protesting members were with placards with different inscriptions such as; Nigerian professors’ salaries are less than 500 dollars, no to commercialisation of Nigerian public Universities, and stop casualisation of Nigerian academics, among others.