ASUU laments low monthly pay for professors

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Benin Zone, has said there are crises in education, security, and other critical sectors of the country.

The Union equally noted that what a professor at a bar earns in today’s Nigeria is about $400 per month which is a scandalous under-valuation of the scholars.

Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Benin Zone, Dr. Monday Igbafen, made the disclosure, during a press briefing over the Unresolved Issues between ASUU and the government in Delta State University Abraka, Delta State.

He said it has become pertinent to alert Nigerians of another avoidable impending paralysis in Nigeria’s public universities owing to the action and inaction of the government.

“It is sad to note that Nigeria is fast assuming the status of a failed state as evident in crises in education, security, and other critical sectors of the country.

“The debilitating and suffocating impact of neo-liberal policies of government at both the Federal and State levels have undoubtedly undermined public good and other good things of life in the country, including the welfare of academics.

“As a result, not only is education in the doldrums, academics in Nigeria have become the endangered species in Nigeria’s existential space.”

Igbafen noted that ASUU has been confronting the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on a number of issues for a very long period.

He said, “The issues include the stalled renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, the absence of Governing Councils in all Federal and some State Universities, the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA); the withheld salaries/promotion arrears/third-party deductions; illegal recruitments; proliferation of public universities/abuse of universities’ rules/processes, and TSA/New IPPIS.

He said government had been foot dragging on the need to conclude and sign the renegotiated 2009 Agreement which commenced in 2017.

According to him, after a tortuous exercise, a draft agreement was reached with the Professor Briggs-led Committee in 2021.

“Unfortunately, agents of the Buhari government refused to approve of the draft Agreement for reasons best known to them,” Igbafen said.

Igbafen accused the then Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who he noted played the leading role in truncating the successful conclusion of the FGN-ASUU renegotiation process that had lasted for more than four years.

“It is disturbing to note that the reviewed agreement with the Briggs-led government team has remained in its draft form from 2021 till date and the most obvious implication of this is that university teachers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the value of Naira to a dollar was N120.

“It is better imagined to note that what a professor at bar earns in today’s Nigeria is about $400 per month which is a scandalous under-valuation of the scholars.The Union and its members have endured enough and there is no long story on this anymore.

“The Union believes that the satisfactory and conclusive renegotiation of the Agreement and its successful implementation is the desirable recipe for the worsening living and working conditions of staff, the pandemic problem of underfunding and other challenges of university governance in the country.”

The Benin zone of ASUU comprises University of Benin, Benin City, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Delta State University, Abraka, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, and University of Delta, Agbor.

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