FG wanted to bring crisis for incoming government by excluding lecturers as it refuse to do what it suppose to do on the Right way from pay rise – ASUU President Said.


FG wanted to bring crisis for incoming government by excluding lecturers as it refuse to do what it suppose to do on the Right way from pay rise – ASUU President Said.

Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the University Academic Staff Union, discusses with EMMANUEL OJO the recent 40% pay increase implemented by the federal government and more

What is your reaction to the implementation of a 40% pay increase for civil servants under the consolidated civil service salary structure, which excludes lecturers and doctors who are not part of the salary structure?

While we haven’t gotten the details and haven’t heard our own situation directly from the ministry, what you’re seeing is the outgoing Secretary of Labor (Dr Chris Ngige) is trying to create chaos in the system and in the next administration because I don’t Understand why you deliberately raised wages in one department by 40% while leaving others alone. I think it’s just to create chaos or make sure that we, the workers, and the unions within the system are fighting each other, but that’s not going to happen. It’s just intentional.

what do you mean?

look When pay increases in government are not a negotiated structure, it affects everyone, whether you are in the police, army or civil service, whatever you have. The fund comes from the same source as when you do a minimum wage review, everyone gets it, but the amount may not be the same because it’s minimum wage and not a raise.

Everyone got something. So why would you create (increase) for one department and have others just to create chaos? That’s my impression because it’s the first time we’ve heard such news. Unnegotiated wages are just to create confusion, maybe he (Minister) can explain it.

We’ve been negotiating with the government for the past six years, but they haven’t come to any deal. Both times, we reached an agreement with the government team. First, with the (Barau) Jibrin team.

We made a deal but they didn’t reply until we went on strike in 2022, then they came and set up the late Nimi Briggs committee, and this labor secretary cut it short, went to the president and lied to the committee to refute it. Later, a minister woke up one morning and said they raised wages in one department. This is so much fun.

They made a deal with us twice. They didn’t say no. With no funding, they made no other suggestions about what could be done. For six years, they had three committees: the Babalakin committee, the Barau Jibrin committee, and the late Nimi Briggs committee, and we had some agreements, and all of a sudden, he threw them out, and just woke up one morning and decided to put a A 40% wage increase in the sector and the government still has a few weeks to go. I do not understand.

The government said the increase was to help ease the financial hardship faced by beneficiaries. Do you think there are other potential motivations?

The Minister of Labor and Employment and the Director of the National Commission on Salaries, Income and Wages needs to explain to Nigerians what they are doing and the motivation behind it. Is it to create chaos for the next government? Is it pretending they did the right thing? It’s not clear and everyone’s excited because it hasn’t happened before and the government will just say they’re going to raise wages by 40% in one sector alone, and those sectors you’ve been negotiating with, you haven’t done anything about.

During the negotiation process, what percentage did you agree with the government?

Well, we came up with a percentage. When they agree to sign it, it becomes a public document, and I’ll go on and on.

Much has been said about the brain drain in the health sector. Has it affected the level of higher education in the national education sector in any way?

Well thank you very much. You can go to the university to look around. Allow me to use the word, the best brains we have in this country are the ones who have not really committed to this country and have left for two reasons. The first is the money they pay lecturers today.

When the federal government converted from naira in 2009, the monthly salary of a professor was between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars, but today, if you convert the salary of a professor, it is about 500 to 600 dollars, which means that if a professor gets a job Invite $2,000 or more abroad and they’ll leave, especially for someone who isn’t really committed to the country. Many people are leaving. You can check it out, even the young ones are gone. They get funded training, they move because they have better job opportunities there. So what are they doing here?

Secondly, to add insult to injury, the so-called IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System) they launched has actually caused the biggest crisis in the Nigerian university system. how about that All our foreign civil servants and lecturers from Cameroon, Ghana, etc. have left because they have been told that they are not working normally and have not been paid for a year or two. At the same time, under our laws, you cannot hire foreigners and give them jobs where they can retire. So, they left.

What happens when a foreigner works in a public university in Nigeria?

Today, if someone is recruiting from abroad, the vice principal tells them to go to Abuja and register with IPPIS. Second, the person has no idea how much money he will make next month. They can wake up and get paid for anything. Additionally, with the corresponding adjustments to the minimum wage introduced in 2019, more than 30% of my core university membership was not paid. When they talked to the vice-principal, they ended up being assigned to Abuja, and when they got there, they spent airfare, paid hotel bills and ended up getting nothing. As a result, the system is gradually destroyed.

No University may employ lecturers without the permission of the Director of Services. Service chiefs have to give permission to a governing board hired by the government before they can do any work, even the best brains we’ve ever seen. This is how they are gradually destroying the Nigerian university system.

Is there a current shortage of competent lecturers in Nigerian universities?

As I said, this is about investigative journalism. There is a university in this country. When we do the live assessment in 2021, 35% of the lecturers are first degree holders and graduate assistants, and those who have just graduated should be students, accounting for 35% of the lecturers. You can go around and it’s all over. A professor divides professors in Nigeria into four categories: the first category is those who take it (professorship) as a childhood dream and are very smart, those who go to work in industries such as banking and find out that they don’t belong and decide to come back to teach , those who do not have a job and the fourth are those who want to make money and enter the industry. So, they don’t mind making money from students or whatever.

The last two categories are those who are employed everywhere in Nigerian universities because they come in through the godfather and because there are universities everywhere and someone has to fill that position, so, they hire whoever they want. This is what we have. So, when some of them say they have enough instructors, go check out their categories. Do they meet specific requirements? What are their publications? In what grade did they graduate? Is it first class, second class or third class? So, these are the things they have.

Even today, someone comes in with a PGD (Postgraduate Diploma) and says he or she wants to do a masters degree. We have a problem as a country and I hope the next government will have the courage to make the terms of service for lecturers more attractive so that we can attract lecturers from the world (rest of the world) the same way universities abroad attract Nigerians, This is the way it should be. Today, you don’t see foreigners anymore in our universities because they’re all gone.

What impression has been made on the Nigerian system by the migration of outstanding academics to foreign universities? Do you feel that these intellectual investments are a waste?

It’s not a waste to me as a person. This means we are producing high quality materials. Otherwise, they will not be accepted worldwide. Second, it’s a big loss as a country. One time when we were on strike, a very high ranking traditional ruler called me and asked if I knew we were giving more aid to the US and Europe than they were giving us. I asked how he did it and he said today, we train doctors and they go abroad to treat Americans, Brits, and Brits don’t have to pay kobo for it. They (doctors) even pay for airfare to go there, but if you check the cost of training those who are now going to UK, USA and all countries, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and lecturers to train abroad, if you calculate the cost, Nigerians give to those countries What those countries give us is much higher than what those countries give us, but what they give us makes noise. If they give you $1,000, they will shout, but the one we give, we will not shout, he (traditional ruler) is right. So, you train a doctor here, and when they finish their training, due to circumstances, they leave to care for patients in other countries who didn’t pay for the kobo’s training. So, we are losers.

I heard a minister say that we have too many doctors in our country. If we had had enough, not just junior doctors, they (Ministers) wouldn’t be running abroad for treatment, that’s all. So Nigeria loses out in medicine, ICT and every career field you can think of because they are not treated well.

How do professors at public universities in Nigeria compare to professors elsewhere?

For example, a typical member of the House of Representatives goes home with no less than N10m in a month, but compare that to a lecturer, professor who goes home with nothing. This is my 14th year as a professor and I take home less than N400,000 a month, so, that’s the problem. Governors take home N500m or N600m a month as a so-called safe vote. Even the salary they pay our best brains feels like doing them a favor. So, until we correct those, we have a big problem. We need to do something so that our so-called (status) African giants are not in vain.

You see actors and comedians doing shows and get paid millions of naira as their pay but when you finish your PhD you are paid just N200,000 per month. At that time, those who earned more than professors in the system were the chief justices of the United States. Things have deteriorated these days and there is no staff quarters, but people from other countries are more appreciated even if they know little or nothing about the skill.

ASUU also supports the Nigerian Medical Association, the National Association of Residents and other associations calling for a better system of practice in Nigeria. What are your thoughts on the proposed five-year bond for doctors before they can receive a full license to practice?

To me, this is pretty ridiculous. I think we came up with some suggestions. They should pass a law making it mandatory for the children of public officials such as ministers, presidents and legislators to attend school in Nigeria from primary to tertiary education. They should also pass a law forcing them to use Nigerian hospitals instead of going abroad. This is the first law they should pass before they start seeing a doctor. They’ve created an environment where they don’t trust the facilities they work with, and they travel overseas expecting those doctors to stay with them. This is the first law they should have signed before seeking to detain doctors with years of training who cannot even get good working conditions, facilities and pay.

In Nigeria, everyone thinks about themselves, not the system. Any day we have a leader who thinks about the system, things will get better. I recently heard that Benue’s outgoing governor has put forward a retrograde bill, saying that after he retires, he can still earn the income he earned during his tenure, and the state government will build him a house in any location he chooses, and pay him every Four cars in four years, and that’s after only eight years in service. Meanwhile, there is a civil servant who returns home after 35 to 40 years of service with a retirement benefit of only N10,000. So sad, I think the way to go is to start from scratch. Governors shouldn’t make more than professors, and that’s how it should be.


Farin cikinmu shine ganin farin ciki saman fuskarku muna alfahari duku masoya.

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