From Njad Vara Musa, Maiduguri
National Assembly member and Senator representing Southern Borno, Sen Mohammed Ndume has asked the Federal Government to resolve the prolonged labour dispute with Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) to prevent collapse of the university system.
Ndume spoke in Maiduguri, Borno capital in an interview with journalists on Friday
“The ASUU issue is far from being over. Federal Government should resolve it now before the collapse of the university system. Those who are currently handling the negotiation can’t resolve the issue because their interests are not affected,” he said.
He maintained public officers or political office holders negotiating with ASUU should not have been allowed to continue the negotiation process since their children are not in the public universities in the country.
He said he decided to speak out on the matter to clear his conscience and for posterity sake. He asked the government to act in the interest of the public.
He also asked the government to issue an executive order forbidden public officials from sponsorship of their children abroad or in private universities.
He decried payment of half salary to varsity lecturers as unjust and inhuman.
He said N1 trillion of the N8 trillion budgeted as recurrent expenditure or overhead cost to public servants in the 2023 appropriation, could have settled the salaries of the lecturers.
Ndume said there was no justification for government not to pay full salary, recalling that public servants were paid their salaries while at home during COVID-19.
“After all, we in the National don’t work all the days, yet we are paid full salaries,” he said.
He urged the government to constitute a committee of eminent Nigerians to bring back ASUU on the table and resolve the lingering dispute, noting that neither the minister of labour or the National Assembly leadership can address the problem because “their interests are not affected.”