Let Us Also Casualise National Assembly Lawmakers – Ndume

By NewsBits

Senator representing Borno north senatorial district, Ali Ndume has queried the rationale behind the casualisation of academics while the lawmakers receive full salary just for sitting twice weekly.Ndume made the observation at the weekend in Maiduguri, Borno State, while reacting to the half-pay for members of the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU) who, according to him, went on a legitimate strike. Ndume therefore called for a 50 per cent slash of federal lawmakers’ salaries to meet the pressing demands of ASUU.

He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to constitute a high-powered standing committee of respected educationists and patriotic Nigerians to meet with the ASUU leadership to address lingering burning issues, just as he expressed concern that the federal government had budgeted N20.5 trillion for 2023, adding, “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.”

He lamented that students were forced to stay at home for eight months doing nothing. “If you can spend N8.3trillion on public servants, why don’t you spend N1trillion in public universities?

“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,” he said.

Ndume noted that the lawmakers only “assemble twice or so per week and get paid.”

“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?

“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?”

The lawmaker added that it was time for the crisis to be resolved even if it involves borrowing to finance the education sector.

“We are budgeting N20.5 trillion for 2023, I don’t see any reason why the government will not budget one trillion to address the lingering challenges of the education sector including ASUU strikes.

“Eight months, students were at home doing nothing and they are the public and we are the public servants. In the budget of 2023, the overhead is 43 per cent. If you can spend N8.3 trillion on public servants, why don’t you spend N1 trillion in public universities?

“Some of those involved in the negotiations do not have children in public universities. How can you be talking about something that you have no stake in? I don’t have a child in public schools, all my children are schooling outside the country; most politicians are like that too and they are the once negotiating.

“With this, to me, we will not get anywhere. Even if we get somewhere, it will be temporary because other people will be playing to the gallery. Some of them will be claiming to be defending the interest of the federal government and the others will be pretending to be defending the interest of the masses and at the end they are only playing to the gallery,” he said.

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