The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the federal government has turned some of its members into farmers and taxi drivers.

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Adelaja Odukoya, Lagos zone coordinator of ASUU, spoke on Tuesday at the end of the union’s zonal meeting held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Abeokuta, Ogun state.

Odukoya said by refusing to implement the memorandum of action signed with the union in 2020, the federal government is deliberately impoverishing university lecturers in the country.

“It will shock you to know that for most of us outside Lagos, we engage in farming to survive, while some of us in Lagos engage in kabukabu (tax driving) and other menial jobs because our salary can no longer take us home,” he said.

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“Regrettably, with nine days to the one-year anniversary of the suspension of our last strike and signing of the 2020 MoA (Memorandum of Actions), the government has adamantly and most shamefully refused, failed, and neglected to do what was freely agreed to between us.

“It is clear that the Federal Government, by its lamentable actions and condemnable inactions, is adding fuel to an already combustible situation.

“How can Nigerian university teachers play their part in this process if they have to contend with the perennial problem of miserable salaries, especially under conditions of hyperinflation?

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“It is troubling that the Nigerian government has turned a blind eye to the suffering of Nigerian university academics. The situation is even worsened by series of cruel neoliberalism policies that seek to transform public education from a public service into a commodity.

“One will be at a loss to understand the attitude of the government to education in the country in general and the condition of service of lecturers in Nigerian public university in particular except one comes to the ugly realisation that there is an orchestrated, deliberate and systemic grand design for the oppression, dehumanisation and impoverishment of Nigerian academics is as old as Nigeria’s post-independence statehood.”

According to Odukoya, the union will not hesitate to embark on its planned strike if the government fails to fulfill its demands.

The Lagos zone coordinator of ASUU wondered why the federal government should find it difficult to pay its members when senators and members of the house of representatives get “jumbo” pay.

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“We have always insisted that the cost of governance in this country is too high and nobody is doing anything about it. But to increase the salary of lecturers is now a problem for the government,” he added.

“This is happening against the background of the public admission by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan only yesterday that a Senator earns N1.5 million while a member of the House of Representatives earns N1.3m per month.”



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