The Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik) Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Awka, Anambra State, recently barricaded the Enugu-Onitsha expressway in protest of the partial payment of their October salary.
They also bemoaned the failure to pay a backlog of eight-month salary and other working conditions for its members, which they claimed were still covered by the government’s reassuring note.
The protest began at the Union Secretariat and proceeded down to the University entrance along the Enugu-Onitsha highway, where the demonstrators barricaded the road for a few minutes to alert the public about their working circumstances.
Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh, the chairman of ASUU-Unizik, told journalists shortly after the protest that the protest was also intended to remind the Federal Government to implement the deal reached with ASUU after the Union stopped her 2020 industrial action.
He demanded that the Federal Government should consider the re-negotiated document of the 2009 condition of services of its members, a payment platform for Universities workers to all public Universities in Nigeria, improvement of funds to the education sector especially, for public Universities.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Charles Esimone, in his solidarity message, said his heart was currently bleeding because of the deplorable condition the Lecturers are working under in Nigeria’s education system.
According to the VC, “Nigerian professors’ salary is currently less than 500 dollars. That is terrible. The government knows that in terms of knowledge and human capacity, Nigerian lecturers can not be compared to other places in the World. So why should they be subjected to this kind of deplorable condition they found themselves?” he asked.
While declaring 100 per cent support for the ASUU course, Professor Esimone, assured the lecturers that the University Management under his leadership would not take their welfare for granted.
He also assured the lecturers that he would minute their demands to the varsity’s governing council, which in turn the governing council, would make a strong statement to the government for urgent consideration.
The protesting members were with placards with different inscriptions such as; Nigerian professors’ salaries are less than 500 dollars, no to commercialisation of Nigerian public Universities, and stop casualisation of Nigerian academics, among others.