The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has urged the federal government to increase the salaries of university professors to N800, 000, as against the N1.2 million negotiated by the Briggs committee. This would represent a 50 per cent salary increase offer, as against the 23 per cent increase being proposed by the federal government.
The committee also set up a sustainable peace team of elders to resolve the lingering impasse between the federal government and ASUU. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that this was confirmed by the Secretary-General of CVCNU and Coordinator of the team, Professor Michael Faborode, yesterday in Abuja, through, “The Sustainable Peace Team Working Paper.”
Faborode said the goal of the team was not to allow the current impasse in the ASUU strike to prolong, as its toll on all stakeholders and the nation had been colossal. He said to arrive at the final list, no serving vice chancellor or pro-chancellor was included and membership was based on the record of service as recorded by the CVCNU.
He said that the team comprised Professor Jibril Aminu, former Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID); Emeritus Professor Olufemi Bamiro, former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI); Professor Ekanem Braide, President, Academy of Science; and Dr Nkechi Nwagogu, former Pro-Chancellor, University of Calabar (UNICAL).
Other members of the team are Professor Joe Ahaneku, former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK); Professor Fatima Mukhtar, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Dutse; and Professor Akpan Ekpo, former Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo (UNIUYO).
Also in the team are Professor Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), and Faborode.
Adamu said, “We should not fold our hands and watch our ‘house’ collapse on us as elders. So, we should speak or act now. We do not have any other industry other than the university system.
“Whatever can be done to bring all the actors to reason and broker peace using the Professor Nimi Briggs committee recommendations as the fulcrum, will be worth the effort. A lot had been done already and such patriotic efforts should not be wasted nor despised.”
Faborode said the “Peace Team of Elders” would operate under the auspices of the CVCNU/CPC, noting that both the federal government and ASUU are being reached to accept the intervention of the independent team of elders.
He added, “The team will liaise with the Professor Nimi Briggs committee to understand the basis of the elements of their proposals, and check with both the federal government and ASUU to identify the areas of concern and objection.
“Afterwards the team will brainstorm on how to mitigate the thorny areas and work with all the parties to bring the imbroglio to an amicable end in the interest of all concerned and the nation.
“The meetings and consultations will be mainly online by Zoom and, perhaps, finally face-to-face to safe costs once we make progress. This is, however, subject to review as we proceed.”
Faborode said the team had listed some preliminary considerations that could shape parties’ understanding and way forward with respect to the deadlock on federal government’s strong stance of no-work, no-pay policy and ASUU’s rejection, thereby prolonging the strike to an indefinite one.
He said, “How do we engage with the Nimi Briggs committee? I am personally in touch with the chairman, and he feels the outstanding issues are not insurmountable.
“These include federal government raising its offer of salary increase from 23 per cent to, maybe, 50 per cent that will ensure a professor receives up to N800,000 monthly, as opposed to the negotiated N1.2 million.
“Also, the review of the decision on salaries during strike to a mid-position, not zero per cent nor 100 per cent as ASUU wants. How can we further this admonition to both sides?