Despite the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protest against payment of alleged incomplete October salary, the Federal Government, on Wednesday, insisted it would not pay for works not done.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, expressed Federal Government’s position on renewed face-off with ASSU after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Journalists had asked the Minister to speak to the insistence by the lecturers to embark on a work-free-day in protest of the Federal Government’s decision to pay its members pro-rata, accusing government of attempting to turn university lecturers to ‘casual workers’.
But responding to questions, Adamu said: “The strike has been called off and the government has paid them what is due to them. I think that’s the position of the government; that it is not going to pay anyone for work not done and they only did, I think, the number of days that they were paid.
“How can anybody make a university lecturer a casual… Do you know the meaning of casual worker? If you know the meaning of the casual worker, it is impossible to make a university lecturer a casual worker.”
Asked if the Federal Government would be willing to take steps to assuage the ASUU and stave off further hostilities, the Minister said: “I don’t understand, is there any problem now?”.
Told they planned work-free-day, he said: “Oh? Okay, I’m not aware. I’m not aware. That they are going on strike? No, nobody has told me.
“So let’s wait till the work-free-day comes, then I’ll find out the details and we’ll discuss, you can ask me then, but at the moment, I’m telling you honestly, I do not know that there is a problem”, he said.
Asked to shed light on the claim by the President of the ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, that the union only had an agreement with the Minister of Education and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamiala, not with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Adamu said: “I cannot add any light on something that I did not know.
“And since they said they have no business with the Minister of … Did they show you the agreement? Well, I’m not aware that there’s any agreement between us,” he said.