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ASUU: fresh battle on pay raise 

There appears to be no end in sight on the protracted dispute between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), as the government stated that whatever agreements they reach will not be binding on state universities. 

What’s the FG’s reason? 

The federal government argues that it cannot compel state governments to work with any agreements reached with ASUU because education is not on the Exclusive legislative list of the constitution. In other words, since education is on the Concurrent legislative list, it means state governments are authorized to act according to what works for them on the matter, especially in the area of remuneration. 

Aren’t the states part of the negotiations? 

When contacted on the subject, the Commissioner for Information in Ekiti state, Akin Omole, said on Wednesday that the state was not part of the ongoing negotiation between ASUU and the FG, so any agreement reached could not be applied to ASUU members in Ekiti State University, according to The Punch. The Benue state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Michael Inalegwu, while stating the state’s noninvolvement in the ongoing negotiations, expressed hope that the government and the state’s chapter of ASUU will reach a compromise. 

What’s ASUU saying? 

The union insists that any agreements reached in the negotiations must be reflected in both federal and state universities. The union argues that the country’s university system is a single entity, and that the current industrial action is being observed by both federal and state universities academic staff. “I can tell you that the renegotiation team is made up of pro-chancellors of state and federal universities. So, how can anyone say the agreement won’t be binding on state universities?”, said Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the union’s president. 

The latest friction is primarily about remuneration. A committee led by the Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Lokoja, Prof. Nimi Briggs, is reported to have recommended a 180% pay raise for lecturers, while the FG is said to favour a 100% increase. While the FG’s team is said to be working out the final details of the proposal, it remains to be seen how it plans to handle ASUU’s latest demand. 

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