STATEMENT BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OFREPRESENTATIVES, REP. FEMI GBAJABIAMILA ON THERESOLUTION OF OUTSTANDING ISSUES BETWEEN THEACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU)AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA.Monday, 7th November 2022
1. When the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called offtheir industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academicactivities could resume in our nation’s public universities, andstudents could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption. This decision was rightly heralded nationwide as the correct decision.
2. Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives haveworked to address the issues that led to the strike. We are currentlyworking on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170,000,000,000.00) to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of University lecturers. The Bill also includes additional three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000.00) in revitalisation funds to improve theinfrastructure and operations of federal universities.
3. Furthermore, the House of Representatives has convened theAccountant General of the Federation (AGF), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders to facilitate the adoption of elements of the University Transparency andAccountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). This effort is beingsupervised by the Chairman of the House Committee on TertiaryEducation, Rep. Aminu Suleiman.
4. The Executive position that it is not obligated to pay salaries tolecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard anddiscouraging disruptive industrial actions. Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who has manifested his desire to what is prudent andnecessary to resolve all outstanding issues.
5. Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially whenappropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are required. Therefore, I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives. This is not a time for political brinkmanship. There is no more pressing objective than topreclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academiccalendar of the universities. We must prevent this possibility by allmeans, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of ournation’s youth.
6. Three weeks ago, I called for a national conversation on thesubstantive reforms required to address the underlying issuesbedevilling public tertiary education in Nigeria. To that end, the House of Representatives is convening a National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform. We have called for papers and memoranda from members of the public. The submissions we receive and expert presentations at the Summit will inform our policy recommendations and actions. I urge all citizens andstakeholders to participate in this crucial effort to reinvent our public tertiary institutions into respected citadels of learning.
7. God bless and keep you all, and God bless our Federal Republic of Nigeria.
REP. FEMI GBAJABIAMILASpeaker, House of Representatives