28th December, 2022
By Femi Ogunshola
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has denied pledging to ensure an offset of the arrears of salaries owed to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by the Federal Government.
The denial is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Information, Mr Benjamin Kalu.
The denial followed alleged claims by the ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke that Gbajabiamila had failed to deliver on a written commitment that the government would offset the lecturers’ salary arrears immediately after calling off their strike.
According to Kalu, the Speaker never made such a commitment.
He however said that the House had resolved to improve the welfare package of university lecturers and provide more money for the universities’ revitalisation fund.
According to him, these commitments have been reflected in the 2023 Appropriation Bill, which includes N170 billion to raise the welfare package of university lecturers and an additional N300 billion revitalisation fund.
Kalu also said that the House has been working with key stakeholders to facilitate the adoption of elements of ASUU’s University Transparency and Accountability Solution into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
“This effort is being supervised by the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education, Rep. Aminu Suleiman,” he added.
Kalu said, “The public interest in ensuring a well-functioning tertiary education sector is a matter of paramount concern for all who understand the transformational role of education in any society.
“For this reason, the 9th House of Representatives has been consistent in our efforts to explore avenues for reform and improvement to the framework of public education in the country from basic education through tertiary.
“Our objectives in this regard will not be achieved when stakeholders choose to ignore substantive issues and the consideration of bold ideas in favour of cheap blackmail and immoral propaganda.”
He, therefore, urged the ASUU president to work with all stakeholders for the common good of all.