The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the University of Ilorin has criticized the federal government for the delay in paying the remaining balance of three and a half months of withheld salaries for university staff across the country.

During a press conference held at the union’s main office at the University of Ilorin, Dr. Alex Akanmu, the branch Chairman, expressed frustration over the government’s inaction. He also voiced concerns about the appointment of elderly individuals to tertiary institution governing councils, questioning the capability of octogenarians to drive 21st-century development agendas.

Dr. Akanmu stated, “The unjustifiable delay in payment of our due remuneration only mirrors an attempt to frustrate the commitment and dedication of the academic staff who have continued to fulfil their responsibilities to students and the broader academic community.” He condemned the government’s “slave-master attitude” and called for immediate action to address the outstanding salaries and Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).

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He highlighted that, despite being included in the 2023 Budget, the payment of EAA remains elusive. The union has begun consultations and mobilizations across its branches to press the federal government to meet their demands.

Dr. Akanmu lamented the government’s insensitivity towards ASUU’s demands over the past few years, despite numerous agreements. He said, “Barely a year ago when the present administration was inaugurated, hopes were high on timely resolution of our demands and agitations given the pseudo democratic roles played by some prominent elements, now in government. True to nature, they acted contrary and have been more anti-labour in their operation.”

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He criticized the government’s failure to commit to negotiated welfare packages, proper funding for institutions, and the stoppage of the proliferation of institutions without adequate support. Dr. Akanmu also mentioned the detrimental impact of prolonged negotiations on scholars’ morale and the exodus of talented academics.

He urged the government to sign and execute the Briggs’s report, stressing that wage awards should not replace negotiated wages. The union also expressed disappointment with the current administration’s handling of various issues affecting Nigerians, labeling it as anti-people and anti-labour.

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Dr. Akanmu concluded by criticizing the federal government’s irregularities in appointing university governing council members, asserting that their actions are often driven by external influences such as the World Bank and IMF. He declared, “This is a government that is removing whatever subsidy that has been existing on our commodities. They’re going for our jugular, and we are going to resist it.”