The industrial disharmony in Nigeria’s university system assumed another dimension at the weekend, when the Federal Government directed universities not to pay academic workers who are currently on strike and had deserted the classrooms.
The directive mandated Vice Chancellors of universities involved in the strike to only pay non-academic workers and other university workers who are not involved in the industrial action.
The directive which was contained in a letter NUC/ES/138/Vol 68/48 dated November 29, 2018, and was signed by NUC Director of Research, Innovation and Information Technology, Ramon Yusuf.
The letter asked the affected Vice Chancellors and management of inter-university centers to strictly comply with the directive or risk sanctions for government.
Part of the letter reads: “in view of the ongoing ASUU strike, Federal Government has directed that there shall be no payment of any form of salaries and allowances to universities’ staff on strike.
“Vice Chancellors have been directed to apply no-work, no-play rule. They are to pay salaries and allowances to only non-teaching staff. All concerned should also note that violation of the directive could amount to disregard of extant rules and directive of the Federal Government.”
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in his reaction, said his members would not loose sleep over the directive.
He said: “After all, we have passed through this stage in previous times, and we would continue to pass through it as long as we continue to agitate for the good of our education system. However, we heard that the directive has been withdrawn, even though we are yet to get official confirmation to it.”