Ngige: Between ASUU and resident doctors

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Ngige: Between ASUU and resident doctors

By Sarah Rufai

SIR: I read the recent article by a retired university don, Dr Kenneth Okoh. With regards to industrial action by ASUU, the academic accused the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige of failure to implement  s.43 of Trade Dispute Act, which provides that, “Where any worker takes part in a strike, he shall not be entitled to any wages or  other remuneration for the period of the strike, and any such period shall not  count for the purpose of reckoning the period of continuous employment and  all rights dependent on continuity of employment shall be prejudicially affected accordingly.”

It is shocking to the marrow that the minister is pushing this provision for the striking resident doctors whereas he ensured payment of university workers who went on strike for nine solid months. Some education stakeholders in the country warned the federal government against paying ASUU members for the nine months they did not work because that would encourage more strikes.

Over the decades, ASUU members have always received salaries for any length of industrial action. This has encouraged workers in the other sectors of the country, including doctors, to learn and imbibe the art of embarking on industrial action at the drop of a hat.

Read Also: No deal until our demands are met, say striking doctors

Through the media, our homes are daily infested with threats of strikes from ASUU leadership and from different zones of ASUU. How can Ngige allow one union to hold the entire nation hostage every now and then? The minister must be held accountable because laws are meant to be implemented. As pointed out in the article by the former lecturer, “It is an open secret that many of the academics, especially the union leaders have their children in private institutions in Nigeria and abroad. Indeed while these dons collect salaries for not working in public universities, they collect wages for working in private universities. In Nigeria, government’s business is regarded as nobody’s business.”

In order to curb the endless strikes and daily threats by ASUU, I support the call by Dr Okoh for government “to turn all public universities into private institutions. Government will then place a ceiling or subsidize school fees payable. You’ll be shocked that the current government’s investment in universities with the Internally Generated Revenues may just be adequate! With this, sanity automatically will be restored. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. And if you’re caught demanding sexual or monetary gratification from students, you’re shown the way out. And our students will get the best of education. There will be no room for lecturers to receive double, triple salaries from the same government purse, as ICPC investigation has revealed.

  • Dr. Sarah Rufai,

Kubwa, Abuja

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