The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has thrown a veil of uncertainty over President Bola Tinubu’s directive to release four months of withheld salary arrears, asserting that the union is not privy to such information. The statement from ASUU’s National Vice President, Prof. Christopher Piwuna, came during an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a scholarship presentation event in Bauchi Zone.
It was reported that President Tinubu had given a partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order imposed on ASUU members after their eight-month strike, which lasted from February 14, 2022, to October 17, 2022. The waiver allowed for the release of four months’ worth of salary accruals out of the eight months that were withheld during the industrial action.
President Tinubu, in his directive, mandated the Ministries of Education, Labour, and Employment to secure a Document of Understanding, ensuring that the granted waiver would be the final one for ASUU and all other education sector unions.
The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, highlighted the intention to alleviate challenges during key economic reforms and recognized the faithful implementation of agreed terms between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
However, the ASUU leadership, represented by Prof. Piwuna, expressed a lack of awareness regarding the approved four-month salary arrears. When asked to comment on the matter, Piwuna stated, “We are not aware that the government has awarded money to anybody. We are not aware. As a union, we are not aware of that.”
The discrepancy in information raises questions about the communication channels between the government and the academic union, casting a shadow over the clarity of directives regarding the payment of withheld salary arrears for ASUU members.