Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and students of Usman Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS) yesterday staged a peaceful protest over withheld salaries of the lecturers .
The protest took place within the University’s main campus and ended at Vice Chancellor’s (VC) Office where the chapter chairman handed over protest letter to VC.
Members of the union and students carried placards with inscriptions such as “Respect the Principles of Collective Bargaining,” “We say no to casualisation of intellectual labour’’ and “ASUU is a protector of public Institutions.” “Our future counts,” We are tired of staying at home.”
A lecture with theme: ‘’ FG attempt to criminalise strikes in the labour sector and casualisation of academic staff,’’ was held before the rally.
Students under the leadership of Students Union Government (SUG) and its president, Shamsudeen Umar, accompanied their lectures in the protest rally.
The students chanted different songs also demanding immediate payment of the withheld salaries emphasizing the dangers of empty stomach.
Addressing the crowd before handing over the letter for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari, the branch chairman of ASUU, Prof. Muhammad Mustapha, said the union convened a special congress and the rally to discuss the issue that attract attention.
Mustapha noted that the protest was to express displeasure on the decision of the government to pay October salary on a pro-rata basis.
“We don’t know why the government took such a decision but to our knowledge such decisions violate the rules of engagement for academics, ‘’ he said.
He added that the condition of service for the academic staff differs from those of the mainstream civil service, stressing that academicians are employed to teach, conduct research and community services.
He said the union just stopped the teaching component during the strike but to our dismay, we were paid on pro-rata basis.
The ASUU leader appealed to the speaker, parents, students and other well-meaning Nigerians to call on Mr. President to urgently resolve the dispute between the union and federal government.
Receiving the letter, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lawal Bilbis, commended the union leaders to orderliness and assured to submit the letter to appropriate places.
Bilbis, who was represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ibrahim Magawata, urged lecturers and students to continue to be law abiding citizens.
Also there were lectures presented by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) leaders in Sokoto, Mr Sa’idu Yakubu, Mr Abdallah El-Kurebe, Prof. Lawalli Alkali, Prof. Abubakar Bagudo and Prof. Faruk Tambuwal.