Half Salary: Sultan Of Sokoto Appeals To Nigerian Lecturers
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to go on another strike.
Recalled ASUU had embarked on strike on 14 February, which was later suspended following a court order in October.
Prior to the suspension of the strike, amid the back-and-forth deliberations over the demands of the lecturers, the federal government had threatened to invoke the ‘no work, no pay’ policy — a decision the government later said would be reconsidered.
But after the suspension of the strike, the lecturers said they got part-payment of one month’s salary.
ASUU had criticized the federal government’s decision on the salaries, while Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, had said interventions are being made to resolve the issue.
However, ASUU then decided to go on a one-day protest rally to express their concern over the non-payment of the complete salaries of lecturers.
On Tuesday, lecturers at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) held protest marches against payment of their October salary on a pro-rata basis.
Reacting, the Sultan of Sokoto after commissioning a 25-bedroom guest house donated by the family of Babalakin to Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State, on Wednesday, advised the lecturers to resolve the issue through dialogue with the government.
He urges Nigerian university lecturers to consider the future of their students in taking their decisions.
“It is not today that ASUU started having problems with the government and they will never stop having problems with the government. But anytime there is a problem, you sit down and discuss and find a way out,” he said.
“When you have a problem with anybody, please sit down, dialogue in an honest way and once you have agreed on any other issue, please try to implement what you have agreed. If you feel you cannot, come back to the table again and discuss more and then you have another alternative and solution to such a problem but not embarking on a strike that will affect the children,” he added.
“I have been pleading with ASUU, I have been part of the negotiating team with ASUU at the federal government level and I know what we have discussed. But I feel we could do more in being honest to one another in ensuring our children, whom we all care for, get to school and graduate,” he said.
“No matter how bad a university is, it will turn out thousands of graduates and if you can bring out so many graduates who are excellent, who are brilliant, why do we have to continue fighting over little issues?”
The Sultan lamented that the recent eight-month strike affected the psychology of Nigerian students.
“For eight months, our children have been at home. Very sad, and very frustrating. But these are things that we could have avoided. I know how much psychologically and academically our children have been affected by the eight months of sit-at-home. I think it’s not good for us,” Mr Abubakar lamented.
At the event, Wale Babalakin, who spoke on behalf of the Babalakin family, said the donated guest house will increase the revenue of the university.
Mr Babalakin, a senior advocate of Nigeria, called on the leaders of Nigerian educational institutions to have investments that will increase their revenue rather than wholly depending on the government.
“For any discerning person in the education sector, it is very clear that the government at all levels, as structured today, cannot singlehandedly fund education,” he said.