The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, on Tuesday, criticised the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, for allegedly authorizing the part-payment of salaries to union members in October.
Osodeke spoke in a Channels Television programme, Politics Today.
ASUU suspended its eight-month strike on October 14.
The Federal Government had early this month paid the varsity lecturers half-salary for October.
The development triggered a backlash in the country with many accusing the government of insincerity in its dealing with the lecturers.
ASUU on Monday announced that it would hold a one-day nationwide protest against the partial payment.
The union president said: “He (Ngige) has gone to court, which means he has lost his right as a conciliator. Once he has taken this case to the Industrial Court, he has lost that right as a conciliator; he has no say again, but he’s still interloping.
“He has nothing. He’s an interloper. If we’re calling him a conciliator, it has gone beyond him.
“And we have found that it was he who actually wrote to the Minister of Finance personally, not directed, that they should stop our salary. It’s just personal. We are surprised because, having taken the case to court, by all rights, his hands are tied. He has no business with what we do.
“But to our surprise, the Accountant General Office decided to pay what some people have referred to as half. It’s very sad because professors who are on the same salary scale got varying amounts, N200,000, N180,000, N90,000 and what have you.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is, can a Minister of Labour direct the Minister of Finance on what to do? The answer is no. We are under the Ministry of Education, and we thought that anybody that can give such a directive who monitors what we do through the NUC is the Minister of Education.
“It is the Minister of Education, who we are under, and the Speaker on whose intervention we called off the strike because of the issue we said that one, they are going to pay us backlog of our salaries because ASUU is different from another union.”
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