By Usman Shuaibu
A university lecturer in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Abuja, Prof. Isaac Nnamdi Obasi, has called on the Federal Government to give priority attention to Nigeria workers in terms of their wages.
He also charged the Federal Government to desist from adopting anti-workers policies that would not be of benefit to them.
Nnamdi Obasi, who made the call while presenting the 34th inaugural lecture of the University of Abuja entitled “Public Policy in The Management of Industrial Relations” which took place at the permanent site of the University, further urged the Government to be sincere in negotiations with the aggrieved workers or unions in order to avoid industrial unrest.
He said: “The Nigeria worker needs a decent wage in a decent working environment in line with ILO’s standards. As far as ILO is concerned, work among other things is a source of personal dignity and family stability”.
“Presently, Nigeria’s Minimum Wage Policy is a far cry from this requirement. Minimum wage policy has so far heightened tension in the industrial relations environment”, he added.
Speaking on the ASUU-Government dispute, Professor called on both the government and ASUU to be pragmatic, constructive and collaborative in their relationships, adding that ASUU should not be ideologically rigid in its relations with the government of the day at all times.
While commenting the budgetary provision for the education sector in Nigeria, Prof. Obasi appealed to the Federal Government to deem it necessary to increase the budgetary allocation of education to boost infrastructural facilities in the universities, noting that successive government under the military dictatorship had neglected education sector since ASUU’s ‘class war’ started in 1978.
He added that under-funding as well the erosion of the university autonomy and academic freedom were logical outcome of the ‘class war’ between ASUU and the government in Nigeria.
Speaking earlier, the Vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Michael Adikwu who was the chairman of the occasion and represented by the Deputy Vice-chancellor in charge of Academic, Prof. Clement urged the labour unions, employers and government to always work together for the sake of industrial peace and harmony.