The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has denied media accusations that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were paid wages unfairly.
The ministry further rejected ASUU’s assertions that its members had only received half of their salaries for October.
Olajide Oshundun, the Labour Ministry’s head of press and public relations, stated in a press release that both claims were flagrantly false, deceptive, and factually distorted.
The message clarified that, contrary to what was widely reported in the media, ASUU members were really given their full wage for October.
The ministry claims that pro-rata was used since it is impossible to pay for work that has not been completed.
It claims that Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labor and Employment, never gave the Accountant General of the Federation instructions to pay university teachers half-salary.
The statement read in part, “Following the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), asking ASUU to go back to work, the leadership of the union wrote to the Minister, informing him that they have suspended the strike. The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to him in a similar vein and our labour inspectors in various states also confirmed that they have resumed work.
“So, the Minister wrote to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, directing that their salaries should be restored. They were paid in pro rata to the number of days that they worked in October, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action. Pro-rata was done because you cannot pay them for work not done. Everybody’s hands are tied.”
The ministry also criticized a statement made by Muhammad N. Al-Mustapha, the chairperson of ASUU’s Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) branch, in which he accused Sen. Chris Ngige, the honorable minister of labor and employment, of paying salaries to certain professional union members in a biased manner.
“Those obviously being referred to by the UDUS ASUU chairperson were members of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association (MDCAN) who abstained from the eight-month strike of ASUU because they abhorred the incessant strikes by the union and its grave effects on medical education in Nigeria and production of more medical doctors.
“Accusing the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, of biased payment of salaries to selected professional members of ASUU, is a barefaced distortion of facts. Mustapha said he received information that a segment of the staff in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) has been paid seven months of their withheld salaries from March to September, due to a letter written to the Minister of Finance, instructing the exemption of the under-listed staff on the application of ‘No Work, No Pay’ rule
“To set the records straight, the medical lecturers who are being referred to by the Chairperson of the ASUU UDUS branch, abstained from the eight-month strike of ASUU. This has been corroborated in a press statement by the Chairman, MDCAN UdUS, Dr B. Jubrin and Secretary, Dr I. G Ango, on Friday, November 4, 2022.”
As a result, the ministry rejected the claim that ASUU members received preferential treatment in the payment of their salaries and urged the media to double-check their information to prevent misinforming the public.