teachers of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife held a peaceful protest on Wednesday against what they described as “insults to intellectuals” by the Nigerian government.
Professors at many Nigerian public universities have been protesting the prorated payment of their October salary. Professors under his umbrella of the Academic Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) had been on strike for eight months until it was called off in the middle of last month.
ASUU members marched around the OAU headquarters on Wednesday after their monthly congress, calling on the federal government to prioritize education.
They held banners with various inscriptions such as “Teachers are not slaves,” “Invest in education,” “A nation that values education is a developing nation,” among others.
Local union president Tony Odiwe, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, expressed disappointment with the government for paying teachers half salaries after calling off the eight-month strike.
“We are not troublemakers, we are a union of intellectuals. The latest insult to our union is the payment of prorated wages to our members. For us it is a distraction, our problems have nothing to do with paying half the salary or without work, without pay, we have previous problems of why we went on strike, ”he said.
“We were on strike for eight months and those problems are still there. The government has not taken care of them, even those that were taken care of, were not taken care of at all”, added the union leader.
Mr Odiwe advised the government to get serious about education instead of frustrating teachers.
He urged the federal government to pay their remaining salaries.
“The government must do what is necessary. We are not casual workers, they should not make us one. We must be paid in full. What we expected from the government after we suspended the strike is for the government to show us that good face starting with a full month’s salary to show that they are sincere and ready for us to talk,” he said.
“When we are employed, our condition of service is not only teaching, we have three components that include research and community service. We only withdrew one of the services, which is teaching”.
The ASUU president also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Labor Minister Chris Ngige.
“We are not interested in who the minister is, we are interested in doing the right thing. If Chris Ngige is not doing the right thing or making it a personal issue, then the government should oust him.”