…Constitutes team to review Nimi-Brigg’s committee report
The Federal Government, in the aftermath of a special closed-door meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of public universities in the country, has agreed to increase professors’ salaries by 35%.
According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, who briefed newsmen after the meeting, the minister, Adamu Adamu, said, “The Federal Government can only afford a 23.5% salary increase for all categories of the workforce in Federal Universities, except for the professorial cadre, which will enjoy a 35% upward review. Henceforth, allowances that pertain to ad-hoc duties of the academic and non-academic staff shall be paid as at when due by the Governing Councils of Universities to which such services are rendered and to the staff who perform them”.
The Federal Government has also constituted another committee to look into the recommendations of the Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs’ committee in charge of the re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement between the government and the university-based staff unions. The unions include the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU), among others.
Recall that the union has been on strike since February over the revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for payment of university lecturers’ salaries, among others. Amid the strike, the Federal Government had invoked the ‘No work-no pay’ policy, insisting that the lecturers would not be paid for the period they stayed away from work. The lecturers had kicked against this as the strike lingered.
However, at the meeting with the Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja, Adamu announced that the Federal Government had set up a committee to revisit the issue. The 14-man committee comprises some of the pro-chancellors, vice-chancellors, and other stakeholders, while the minister is the chairman.
The minister said he would brief President Buhari on the outcome of the meeting while noting that the committee will be looking at two major areas of contention, the ‘No work-no pay’ and remuneration of university lecturers. Although he could not give the time frame for the committee to work, he said given the atmosphere in the meeting, they are looking at a few days. He, however, said they are not jettisoning the Briggs Committee, but that it is in continuation of what the committee did.
The minister further noted that the statement by ASUU President that the Union would no longer negotiate with the current Federal Government must be resisted. He also noted that President Buhari warned against signing agreements that the government will not be able to meet.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, the pro-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Professor Peter Okebukola, noted that the Government was ready to go all out to ensure that the university lecturers return to school.