Despite advancement in the legislation that would increase the retirement age of professors and other staff of tertiary institutions by the senate, the Academic Staff Union of University says it would not call off its ongoing strike anytime soon.
The senate, on Wednesday, hurriedly resuscitated the bill seeking to raise the retiring age of teachers in tertiary institutions from 60 to 70 years, and that of non-teaching staff to 65, as a way of pacifying ASUU to call of its work boycott.
The amendment to retiring ages of tertiary institution staff is a major part of the agreements reached by the federal government and the central trade unions of the tertiary institutions, particularly the Academic Staff Union of Universities in 1990 and is an important cause of series of ASUU strikes the nation’s university system have suffered over the past decade.
However, Ukachukwu Awuzie, ASUU chairman, told Premium Times this afternoon the strike would not be called off based on today’s consideration of the bill by the senate . He said the strike would end only when the government demonstrate sufficient commitment to sdequate funding of the nation’s public universities.
“We want the universities to be adequately funded so we can produce sound university graduates,” Mr. Awuzie said. “Unless that is done, the strike remains.”
The retirement-age bill was passed by the sixth National Assembly but was later withdrawn to allow for some amendments so its provisions could cover all tertiary institutions, including polytechincs and colleges of education.
In accordance with a new senate rule, the corrected version was represented to the senate and passed through second reading today (Wednesday).
“The bill will unarguably raise the staff morale and improve the quality of academic work in our tertiary institution,” Uche Chukwumerije, chairman of the senate committee on education and author of the bill said.
The bill will be put forward for a public hearing and later re-presented to the senate for third reading and passage within the four-week time frame given by the senate president, David Mark.
When passed, Mr. Chukwuerije said, the amendments would enhance Nigeria’s academic reservoir, reduce talent waste due to early retirement and remove depression and alienations felt by professors who retire too early.