ASUU Benin zone decries 15-year stagnation in staff salary review

ASUU Benin zone decries 15-year stagnation in staff salary review

By AmforGod J. Olisa

The Benin Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed deep concern over the non-review of staff salaries, which have remained stagnant since the last adjustment 15 years ago. ASUU has warned that the government’s inaction might force the union to embark on another industrial action.

Addressing journalists in Benin City, the union highlighted its grievances under the theme: “On the unresolved issues between the federal government and ASUU: The government is begging ASUU to go on strike.” Professor Monday Igbafen, Zonal Coordinator of ASUU’s Benin Zone, pointed out that while other sectors have seen salary reviews, university lecturers have been left behind, with their pay unchanged since the naira was valued at N120 to the dollar.

“University teachers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009, when the value of naira to a dollar was N120. Salaries in other sectors have been reviewed twice or more during this period,” Igbafen stated. “Today, a professor at bar earns about $400 per month, a scandalous under-valuation of scholars. To remain on the same salary regime for 15 years without review is not only wicked and inhuman but also an invitation to resistance or industrial disharmony.”

Igbafen detailed the union’s demands, which the federal government has not met, pushing ASUU closer to industrial action. He lamented the government’s lack of sincerity and engagement on issues that have worsened the living and working conditions of academic staff in public universities.

“The government’s refusal and/or total neglect of our union’s demands and ultimatum, barely a month after our press engagement in DELSU, is not a good recipe for the impending paralysis in Nigeria’s public universities,” he said. “The unresolved issues revolve around the stalled renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, funding for the revitalization of public universities, the illegal dissolution of governing councils, withheld and unpaid salaries, non-release of third-party deductions, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances, proliferation of public universities, non-implementation of Visitation Panel reports, and the refusal to adopt UTAS in place of IPPIS.”

Igbafen further condemned the illegal dissolution of the governing councils of public universities and the refusal or neglect by some state governments to constitute governing councils for their universities.

ASUU’s warning signals a potential disruption in the academic calendar, as the union feels pushed to the brink by the government’s inaction on their longstanding issues.

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