Reps urge Buhari to release university staff allowances

The ongoing house of reps voting to elect new speaker
The ongoing house of reps voting to elect new speaker

The House of Representatives has called on the Buhari led-Federal Government to release the allowances earned by non-academic staff in federal universities.

The House made the call while adopting a motion of Urgent Public Importance raised by Aisha Dukku (Gombe, APC) at the plenary on Thursday.

Ms Dukku said the 2009-2015 allowances was aimed at averting an impending strike action by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the None-Academic Staff Union (NASU).

The house urged the Federal Government to audit university earned allowances to establish how much has been paid and the amount yet unpaid.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the Non-academic staff of Nigerian universities would on Monday begin a three-day nationwide protest as a notice of their intention to go on an indefinite strike over the failure of the federal government to implement its agreement with them.

The agitation by the non-teaching staff is coming four months after their colleagues in the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) suspended their two-month strike.

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The non-academic unions, comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), said the agreement now in contention had made them suspend their own industrial action in March last year.

But the lawmaker while moving the motion said the action was as a result of the refusal of the Federal Government to recall the sacked workers of staff schools and alleged discriminatory attitude of government against members of the unions.

She expressed concern that the unions decried the exclusion of their members from the working of the National University Pension Company (NUPENCO) solely operated by the Academic Staff Association of University (ASUU).

“The alleged preferential treatment extended to ASUU by the Federal Government as seen in recent allocation of money by the Ministry of Education, signed by the Director of Tertiary Education, allocating 80 per cent of the money to ASUU and only 19 per cent to non-teaching staff unions.”

According to Ms Dukku, the way and manner the money is being shared was contrary to any known accounting procedure and international best practice.

She said if the concerns of the unions were not addressed on time, they would cripple the activities and shut down the universities in the country.

Also contributing to the debate, Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi, APC) blamed the incessant strike action on the inability of the parties to keep to the terms of the agreement already made.

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He said to address the matter, the agreement reached by the parties must be implemented.

Mr Yusuf said that the incessant strained action had resulted in the emergence of “mushroom universities” in the country.

The lawmakers unanimously called on the Federal Government to urgently set up a committee to address the alleged discrimination.

The legislators also resolved to set up a committee to interface with the Federal Government and the unions with a view to resolving the matter.

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