Senator Shehu Sani has faulted the Federal Government’s decision to pay lecturers half of their salaries following the eight-month strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
According to Senator Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the National Assembly from 2015 to 2019, no lawmaker is paid half salary for staying away from “office” during sessions.
He particularly made reference to the efforts of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila’s attempt to explain government’s decision to pay the lecturers half salary.
The Speaker had been mediating in the face-off between the union and Federal Government.
In a statement explaining the situation, the Speaker said: “The Executive position that it is not obligated to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
“Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers.
“We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.”
Lawmakers’ full allowances
However, taking to his verified Twitter handle, Senator Sani said: “A system where no legislator is paid half salary for absence from the chamber during session, even for no valid reason, the Speaker is justifying half salary for the university lecturers.”
Few minutes after, he tweeted again that a lecturer reached him, pointing out that he was paid N40,000 which is not even half of his salary.
The tweet: “After my last tweet, a university lecturer called me to tell me that he was paid 40k (N40,000) and not ‘half salary’.
“No clerk or gardener in the Presidential Villa or National Assembly is being paid such a paltry sum.”
Meanwhile, ASUU has described the half-salary payments to its members as an aberration that makes the lecturers casual workers.
Rising from its NEC meeting, ASUU regretted that the response of government towards its demonstration of trust was the so-called ‘pro-rata’ payment for eighteen days as the October salary of academics, thereby portraying them as daily paid workers.
However, it decided not to embark on another strike action but resolved to wait for the Speaker, Gbajabiamila’s intervention in the face-off.