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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

JUST IN: More troubles for ASUU as Gbajabiamila denies promising FG’ll pay 8-month salary arrears

The House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila has said he did not promise the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) payment of salary arrears by the Nigerian government.

The denial is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, by the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Information, Mr Benjamin Kalu.

The denial followed alleged claims by the ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke that Gbajabiamila had failed to deliver on a written commitment that the government would offset the lecturers’ salary arrears immediately after calling off their strike.

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Osodeke also alleged that the speaker had presented a paper signed by him to ASUU leadership indicating the readiness of the government to pay in full the eight-month salaries to its members as well as attend to other grievances of the union.

Osodeke was quoted as saying: “Here we are till today, nothing has been done over the promise and that is why the Speaker did not say anything tangible since then at least on the issues let alone ensure that his promises are carried out.”

Kalu, who responded to the allegation, said the speaker never promised the union such.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the House to the concerns of the lecturers as contained in the 2023 Appropriation Bill, where N170 billion and N300 billion were set side for their welfare package and revitalization of universities respectively.

“No point did the Speaker of the House of Representatives commit to offset the arrears of salaries owed to union members for the time they were on strike”, Kalu said.

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“It is now clear that ASUU President had-faith approach to negotiations and his affinity for political brinkmanship are significant reasons the universities were on strike for so long”, he added.

It would be recalled that the suspension of the eight-month strike had followed the intervention by the House of Representatives led by Femi Gbajabiamila.

The union had been mandated by National Industrial Court to suspend its strike as a precondition for the consideration of its appeal.

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