2023 Elections: Nigerians Blast ASUU Over Complaint Against FG’s Alleged Pay Increase Discrimination

2023 Elections: Nigerians Blast ASUU Over Complaint Against FG’s Alleged Pay Increase Discrimination

Nigerians on social media have berated the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, for complaining against alleged non-inclusion of lecturers in the recently announced pay increase of the civil servants by the Federal Government.

Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had disclosed that a pay increase of about 40% for civil servants was captured in the 2023 budget and it took effect from January, but payment would commence from April this year.

The minister described the pay increase as a “peculiar allowance” targeted at alleviating the effects of the current economic hardship in the country on the civil servants.

But reacting to the development at an interview with the Punch, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the national President of ASUU, blasted the Federal Government for the selective increase in salaries, adding that increase in payment by government without negotiation was expected to go round to all sectors.

Osodeke described as funny, the sectoral pay increase by FG when its long-standing negotiation for same pay increase was truncated.

According to him: “Although we have not got the details and we have not heard from the ministry about our own directly, what you are seeing is that the outgoing Minister of Labour (Dr Chris Ngige), is trying to create confusion in the system and for the next administration because I don’t see why you deliberately increased the salary of one sector by 40 per cent and left the others. I think that is just to create confusion or ensure that we, the workers, and the unions within the system fight one another but that will not happen. It’s just deliberate.

“Look! When there is a salary raise in the government service that is not a negotiated structure, it goes round for everybody, whether you are in the police, the military, or the civil service and what have you. The fund comes from the same source just as when you have a minimum wage review, everybody gets it but the quantity may not be the same because it’s a minimum wage and not a salary increase. Everybody got something. So, why will you create (an increase) for one sector and leave the others just to create confusion? That is the impression I have because this is the first time we are hearing of such. The non-negotiated salary is just to create confusion and maybe he (the minister) can explain.

“We have been negotiating with the government for the past six years but they have not acceded to anything. Two times, we have reached an agreement with the government team. First, with the (Barau) Jibrin team. We reached an agreement, but they didn’t reply until we went on strike in 2022, then they came and set up the late Nimi Briggs committee and this same Minister of Labour truncated that agreement, went and told a lie to the President which the committee refuted. Later, one minister wakes up one morning and says they have raised the salary for one sector. It’s so funny.

“They reached an agreement with us twice. They didn’t say no. They also didn’t give other suggestions of what they could do since they didn’t have funds. For six years, they have set up three committees: the Babalakin committee, the Barau Jibrin committee, and the late Nimi Briggs committee, where we had some agreements, and all of a sudden, he just threw them away, just woke up one morning and decided the raise the salary of one sector by 40 per cent and the administration has a few weeks to go. I don’t understand.

Osodeke pointed out that the pay increase by FG was aimed at creating confusion for the incoming government, calling on FG to clarify on what it has done

“The Minister of Labour and Employment and the Director of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission need to explain to Nigerians what they have done and the motive behind it. Is it to create confusion for the next government? Is it to pretend that they have done the right thing? It’s not clear and everybody is agitated because it has not happened before, that the government will just say that they are increasing the salary of one sector alone by 40 per cent while those sectors you have been negotiating with, you have not done anything about it.

However, Nigerians on social media have attacked Osodeke and ASUU for complaining against the discrimination by the government when Professors in the academic sector rig elections for politcians.

Below are screenshots of reactions of Nigerians to the opposition of FG’s move by ASUU: