The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has pushed for the payment of the professors’ unpaid salary backlog; arguing that without it, incomplete academic sessions would be ignored.
Despite the fact that public universities have been closed since February, 2022; ASUU President Professor Emmanuel Osodeke insists that lecturers should still be paid; particularly because they are required to teach in order to make up for the time lost due to the shutdown.
Osodeke was speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday, August 19, 2022.
Following the government’s insistence on not paying the lecturers due to the industrial action; ASUU had served the government notice of its intention to resist the development.
He stated, “If we agree on that, therefore, the lectures we should have given [to students] for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 [sessions], should be allowed to go so we start a new session, 2022/2023, in September.
“Therefore, by July next year, I would go on my leave as we used to have in those days so that the backlog is gone. All the lectures that remain; all the two sets of admissions that JAMB has given that are waiting should become irrelevant.”
He explained that when “other unions go on strike and come back; all those periods for which you are on strike, you don’t need to do the backlog of work.
“But for ASUU, when we go back today, we are going to start from the 2020/2021 session. For these two sets of students that have been admitted by JAMB, we have to teach them over these periods to ensure that we meet up with the system.
“So, we are going to do the backlog of the work we have left behind. We are not going to start today and say ‘This session is 2022/2023, therefore, all these two sets of people that have been admitted by JAMB are cancelled. We have to take another admission for the 2023/2024 session’.”
The ASUU chief also said the union does not need a pity party over the government’s withholding of the lecturers’ wages, maintaining that the union “can take care” of its members.