The Nigerian government has extended the deadline on an ultimatum issued to striking university lecturers, asking them to go ‘Back to Class’ on December 4 or face being sacked.
With the deadline extended to December 9, lecturers are no longer expected to resume duties as required by the seven-day ultimatum issued by the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, on November 28.
The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okogie, told journalists in Abuja on Tuesday that the ultimatum had been shifted to enable the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) carry out the burial ceremony of Professor Festus Iyayi, a former leader of the union who died in the line of duty.
In a bid to lay to rest the issue of non-victimisation that the striking lecturers had stressed in a letter to the government before the ultimatum was issued, the NUC boss stated that all lecturers, who would resume duties and ready to work on December 9 would be paid their full salary arrears.
The public universities’ lecturers have not been paid since they embarked on a nationwide strike on July 1. They have, by invoking the non-victimisation clause, demanded that all the arrears must be paid.
He, however, pointed out that the leadership of ASUU, at the end of its meeting with the president on November 4, had agreed to call off the strike after several resolutions were reached which did not include the new conditions recently released by the union.
The union said it did not add any new condition but only emphasised the non-victimisation clause, which states that no member of the union should be punished for being part of the ongoing strike.
It claims the government was aware of the clause and called for the payment of the salary arrears.
It has also insisted that the government deposit the 200 billion Naira revitalisation fund for public universities as agreed with the Central Bank of Nigeria, before the strike would be called off.