The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has urged the Federal Government to increase the salary of university professors to N800,000 as against the N1.2 million negotiated by the Nimi Briggs committee.
This will represent a 50% salary increase offer as against the 23% increase being proposed by the federal government.
The committee also set up a sustainable peace team of elders to resolve the lingering impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
According to NAN, this was confirmed by the Secretary-General of CVCNU and Co-ordinator of the team, Professor Michael Faborode, on Tuesday in Abuja through ‘The Sustainable Peace Team Working Paper’.
Faborode said that the goal of the team was not to allow the current impasse in the ASUU strike to prolong as its toll on all stakeholders and the nation had been colossal.
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Members of the peace team of elders
Faborode said that to arrive at the final list, no serving vice chancellor or pro-chancellor is included and membership was based on the record of service as recorded by the CVCNU.
He said that the team comprised of Prof. Jibril Aminu, former Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID); Emeritus Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI); Prof. Ekanem Braide, President, Academy of Science; and Dr Nkechi Nwagogu, former Pro-Chancellor, University of Calabar (UNICAL).
Other members of the team are Prof. Joe Ahaneku, former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK); Prof. Fatima Mukhtar, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Dutse; and Prof. Akpan Ekpo, former Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo (UNIUYO).
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Also in the team are Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), and Prof. Michael Faborode, former Secretary General, CVCNU and former Vice Chancellor, OAU.
He said, “We should not fold our hands and watch our ‘house’ collapse on us as elders. So, we should speak or act now. We do not have any other industry other than the university system.
“Whatever can be done to bring all the actors to reason and broker peace using the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee recommendations as the fulcrum, will be worth the effort. A lot had been done already and such patriotic efforts should not be wasted nor despised.’’
Faborode said that the “Peace Team of Elders” would operate under the auspices of the CVCNU/CPC, noting that both the Federal Government and ASUU are being reached to accept the intervention of the independent team of elders.
He added, “The Team will liaise with the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee to understand the basis of the elements of their proposals, and check with both the federal government and ASUU to identify the areas of concern and objection.
“Afterwards the team will brainstorm on how to mitigate the thorny areas and work with all the parties to bring the imbroglio to an amicable end in the interest of all concerned and the nation.
“The meetings and consultations will be mainly online by Zoom and perhaps finally face-to-face to safe costs once we make progress. This is however subject to review as we proceed.’’
Committee to take middle position on salary increase and no-work, no-pay policy
Faborode said that the team had listed some preliminary considerations that could shape parties’ understanding and way forward with respect to the deadlock on federal government’s strong stance of no-work, no-pay policy and ASUU’s rejection thereby prolonging the strike to an indefinite one.
He said, “How do we engage with the Nimi Briggs committee? I am personally in touch with the chairman, and he feels the outstanding issues are not insurmountable.
“These include federal government raising its offer of salary increase from 23% to may be 50% that will ensure a Professor receives up to N800,000 monthly as opposed to the negotiated N1.2 million.
“Also, the review of the decision on salaries during strike to a mid-position, not 0% nor 100% as ASUU wants. How can we further this admonition to both sides?
“Fundamentally, the following facts should be noted: the subsisting condition of Nigerian higher education is unacceptable and inconsistent with the economic development roles envisaged for them.
“Things have been allowed to deteriorate for too long. This must be halted by all as we embark on an integrated revitalisation agenda in the education sector, in the interest of our economic development.’’
What you should know
- ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on a 4-week total and comprehensive strike to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
- Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, which amounts to N1.1 trillion, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), payment of promotion arrears and the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
- The Federal Government’s Briggs renegotiation committee, had since April 2022, been meeting with ASUU and other labour unions in the universities, who went on strike due to its dispute with the government and non-resolution of demands of the 2009 agreements signed with the federal government.
- Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, who insisted on no-work, no-pay policy had earlier said that the insistence of ASUU on the payment of the withheld salaries was stalling negotiations by the parties.
- He added that the government had met all the demands of ASUU, except the payment of 6 months’ salary arrears which President Muhammadu Buhari rejected when a proposal to the effect was presented to him.
- After several extensions of the industrial action, ASUU remained adamant in its resolve to press on with its demand as it now declared an indefinite, total and comprehensive strike on August 30 over failure of government to meet its demands.