ASUU says Nigerian lecturers dying of ‘pauperisation,’ threatens industrial action

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says many of its members have either died or are suffering critical health challenges due to what it described as the pauperisation of the academia by the Nigerian government both at the federal and the state levels.

The union disclosed this in a statement issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting held at the weekend and hosted by the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State.

The statement, signed by the union President, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the dire situation has forced many lecturers to flee the country for greener pastures, saying apart from the poor working environment and conditions of service, members are also dying of workload pressure occasioned by the exodus of its members abroad.

ASUU also accused the administration of President Bola Tinubu of failure to fulfill his promises of releasing members’ withheld salaries and exempting the universities from the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

The union said its members have been receiving the same salary since 1999 despite the steeply depreciating value of the naira, saying an average professor now earns the equivalent of $210 per month.

ASUU said: “The meeting was alarmed, going by the reports it received, on the failed promises of the Tinubu-led administration toward addressing the lingering issues that forced the union to embark on the nationwide strike action of February–October 2022.

The union listed various issues of concern such as the unsigned new FG/ASUU agreement, the needs assessment fund, and the proliferation of universities, among others, threatening that it could not guarantee peace on the campuses if these issues are not urgently addressed by the government.

The union also accused the government of continuous encroachment on the universities’ autonomy, especially with the dissolution of their governing councils, a move ASUU described as illegal.

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