By HABIBU HARISU
SOKOTO- The Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto (UDUS), chapter of ASUU staged a protest on Thursday over withheld salaries of its members.
The protest was held within the university’s main campus and ended at the office of the vice-chancellor, Prof. Lawal Bilbis.
ASUU chapter’s chairman, Prof. Muhammad Mustapha, handed over a protest letter to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ibrahim Magawata, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Lawal Bilbis.
The letter was for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The protesters 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’’, among others.
Lectures, with the themes: “FG attempts to criminalise strikes in the labour sector’’ and “Casualisation of academic staff’’, were delivered before the protest took off.
Students, led by Malam Shamsudeen Umar, President, Students Union Government, accompanied the lecturers on the protest rally.
The students chanted different songs also demanding for immediate payment of the withheld salaries of the lecturers, stressing the dangers of teaching on empty stomachs.
Prof. Mustapha said the union convened a special congress and the rally to discuss the issue as well as to attract attention.
He said the protest was to express displeasure at the decision of government to pay October salary on a pro-rata basis.
“We don’t know why government took such decision, but to our knowledge such decision violates the rules of engagement for academics,’’ he said.
He added that the Conditions of Service for academic staff differed from that of mainstream civil service, stressing that academics were employed to teach, conduct research and community services.
He said the union stopped only the teaching component during its eight-month strike, but members were paid on pro-rata basis.
The ASUU chapter leader appealed to parents, students and other well-meaning Nigerians to call on Mr President to urgently resolve the dispute between the union and the Federal Government.
Receiving the letter, Prof. Magawata commended the union leaders for their orderliness and assured that the letter would get to destination.
He urged lecturers and students to continue to be law-abiding. (NAN)