Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has said members of the union may find it difficult to get to their respective institutions on Monday as they do not have money for transport.
Osodeke said this yesterday while speaking about matters arising from the suspension of the ASUU strike on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
According to him, unlike those days when lecturers lived in staff quarters very close to campuses, most lecturers now live far away from the school campuses as most schools could not provide accommodation for them.
He said since they have not been paid for eight months, it would be difficult for them to afford the transport fares to their respective schools to teach students.
“In schools in those days, every lecturer used to live on campus and you could trek to your office but these days, many lecturers live 20, 30 kilometres to their offices. How will they pay for their transport to work?
“These are the issues we are going to have, that the branches will have to deal with. We expect the government to pay the money [eight months’ salary arrears] so that these people will go back to work while we are negotiating on other issues.”
Confirming the suspension of the strike, he said “we suspended the strike hoping that the government will do the needful and by tomorrow, if the universities are open, hopefully, the lecturers will go back to work.
“We are resuming because we are obeying an industrial court judgement because the issues have not been fully resolved, no agreement signed.
“We are also hoping that with the intervention of the Speaker [of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila], as promised by him, we will resolve this problem within a very short time.
“Our lecturers will teach but you can’t expect someone who is owed eight months’ salary, maybe from his bank, he has collected more than N1m as a loan and you have not paid him one kobo and you want him to go to class and teach.
“I pray they go there because of the children and do the best they can do. You don’t expect a hungry man to go there [school] with an open mind.”