Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) has called for a 50 per cent slash of federal lawmakers’ salaries to meet the pressing demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Mr Ndume made the call while reacting to the alleged half pay for the academic staff in Maiduguri on Thursday. He advised President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to constitute a high-powered standing committee of respected educationists and patriotic Nigerians to meet with the ASUU leadership to address lingering burning issues.
“Even if it means that the National Assembly will reduce sitting allowances or be paid on casual allowances basis whenever they sit at the lower and upper chambers, by cutting the recurrent expenditure in the budget of the federal lawmakers to settle the ASUU arrears, let it be. It will be in the overall national interest of Nigerians,” the legislator explained.
Mr Ndume noted that the lawmakers only “assemble twice or so per week and get paid.” He also pointed out that the Buhari regime paid civil servants who worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic full salaries and allowances monthly.
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“So why will the federal government cut university lecturers’ salaries because they went on legitimate strike, which constitutionally, they are fighting for their rights and privileges?” he reasoned. “As a matter of priority and as a public servant in the legislative chambers, we don’t work, so why don’t you just give us half salary and then pay ASUU?”
He urged the Buhari regime to resolve the issue “once and for all, even if they have to borrow or make supplementary budgets.”
Mr Ndume added, “We are budgeting N20.5 trillion for 2023. I don’t see any reason why the government will not budget N1 trillion to address the lingering challenges of the education sector, including ASUU strikes.”