The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has disclosed that most of its members had turned to farmers and taxi drivers to make ends meet.
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Lagos Zone, Adelaja Odukoya made the disclosure on Tuesday while addressing journalists at the end of the zonal meeting of the union held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Alabata, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State.
Odukoya, flanked by the branch chairmen from the zone, slammed Senators and House of Representatives members over what he described as ‘jumbo pay,’ while academic members “are being impoverished by the Federal Government.”
He accused the Federal Government of deliberately impoverishing university lecturers by its refusal to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with the union in 2020.
He lamented “poor remuneration” of ASUU members, regretting that the “Federal Government has turned lecturers to farmers and taxi drivers.”
With particular reference to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan’s disclosure of the monthly and operational earnings of the lawmakers, Odukoya accused the Federal Government of weaponising poverty against members of the academics.
The lecturers tackled members of the National Assembly for reportedly “earning between N1.5million and N1.3million monthly” to the detriment of Professors, who he said collect N416, 000 monthly as take-home.
The union also declared that there is no going back on its planned strike unless the government meets its demands.
The don said Nigerian lecturers are the “least paid in the world,” describing it as a disgrace to the education sector and the country.
Reading from the statement titled: “Our pay cannot take us home: End poverty wage now. We have always insisted that the cost of governance in this country is too high and nobody is doing anything about it and to increase the salary of lecturers is now a problem for the government.
“This is happening against the background of the public admission by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan only yesterday that a Senator earns N1.5 million while a member of the House of Representatives earns N1.3m per month.
“It will shock you to know that for most of us outside Lagos, we engage in farming to survive, while some of us in Lagos engage in ‘kabukabu’ (taxi driving) and other menial jobs because our salary can no longer take us home.
“Regrettably, with 9 days to the one year anniversary of our suspension of our last strike and signing of the 2020 MoA (Memorandum of Actions), the government has adamantly and most shamefully refused, failed and neglected to do what was freely agreed to between us.
“It is clear that the federal government by its lamentable actions and condemnable inactions is adding fuel to an already combustible situation,” he said.