The Federal Government has cleared the backlog of salaries it owed medical lecturers of the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University (UDUS) in Sokoto.
In a statement Thursday, the university’s ASUU chairman – Dr M.N Al-Mustapha – said the order to clear the arrears of salary was given by Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment.
The statement in part reads: “Recall also that, on July 14, 2022, the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment granted an interview with Arise TV, where he stated, ‘Medical lecturers are at work, they are teaching. Sokoto has graduated their medical students, they are reasonable people, they have tested the strike and saw that it produces no result, yes they did it the last time. So, today, they have written, their Vice Chancellor has approved that they are at work.’
“This claim by the Honourable Minister, after careful investigation and consultation with the Vice Chancellor, the Provost of the Collage of Health Sciences and the Chairman, Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria, UDUTH Branch, was found to be false.
“On Monday, October 31, 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto Branch, received information that a segment of academic staff in the Collage of Health Sciences had been paid a backlog of seven months of their withheld salary (March to September). Our preliminary investigations, as to why only a section of academic staff in the university were paid, revealed that, the payment was made due to a letter written to the Hon. Minister of Finance instructing the exemption of some listed staff from the application of “No work No Pay” rule.
“The letter was written by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment on October 24, 2022, directing the payment of withheld salary of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital Sokoto Chapter, with the pretence that this category of staff has been working during the strike. This situation further created tension and division within the campuses of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, escalating also to other universities.”
“All the academic staff in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, including those in the College of Health Sciences, were fully and undoubtedly on a total and comprehensive strike right from the beginning, on the 14th of February till its suspension on October 14, 2022.
“None of the members of ASUU UDUS or any section of the academic staff of the Branch pulled out of the strike action until when the national body called for its suspension. Not all members of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria of Usamanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital are academic staff. So, how can their working in the teaching hospital amount to working in the university during the strike?
“The union challenges anyone, either in the Labour Ministry or the MDCAN UDUTH to produce any factual evidence that anyone had ever worked during the strike that warranted the selective release of their salary.
“It is now on record that the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment is using his good office to settle some personal scores against a certain segment of academic staff that are not his “professional” colleagues. The Honourable Minister’s pursuit to polarise and sectionalise the Union by creating divisions, unpleasant relationship and disharmony within the rank of academics, along professions of members of the union is typical of his behaviours since assumption in office. He made several attempts to split the union by sponsoring different groups of academics to form a parallel union based on their professions.”