Welfare: Peters visits wages commission, requests staff inclusion in hazard allowance

By Sunday Adama
wages comm visit

Determined to put smiles on the faces of staff and in keeping with his welfare promise, the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, has requested the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to include NOUN in hazard allowances, among other benefits.

The VC, who was accompanied by the DVC Administration, Prof. Isaac S. Butswat, Director, Human Resources, Mr. John J. Ubaji and other senior members of staff, visited NSIWC on Tuesday 17th March, 2022.

"We are from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) here in Abuja and we are here on behalf of the University Council, the University Senate and the University management," Prof. Peters told his host, to open his speech.

While explaining the nature, modus operandi and the strength of the University,  Peters said that the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is one of the Federal universities which is very flexible adding that its "flexibility is both an advantage and sometimes a hindrance because it gives us a lot of work to do as staff and we have to manage  a number of social issues.

"Sir, we are physically here to bring to your attention some of the things that we have noted. We note that the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) established by an Act in 1993 has a number of mandate to assist, of most importance to us is the issue of salaries and wages and that is why we are here.

"We are here in relation to formulation and implementation policies and practices which is aimed at ensuring fair, equitable and affordable pay system in national structure.

"We are a Federal university but our structure and the way we came in was a little bit contentious to Nigerian system, especially the Nigerian university system. We came in at a time the Nigerian university system get threatened by the presence of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and that threat is there up till today.”

While comparing the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) with conventional universities most especially the first generation universities in Nigeria, the VC, out of experience, said basically the work is the same but NOUN's workload is about five times of that conventional universities.

"It is on that basis that we make a plea to the Executive Chairman of the Commission and to have a consideration on the issues that we bring to his table," the VC said.

While presenting to his host the letter of request, the VC said, "the basis of this letter is the request by the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) for inclusion  of our staff in payment of terms and hazard allowance.

                    PIX:R-L: Peters and Ekpo Nta

"Like I said earlier,  we have been excluded basically because of the way we came in. We felt that our staff required this type of compensation. The type of students that we have is not the type that we allowed them to go on strike and if staff are overloaded without adequate compensation it brings agitation. That is why the University management deemed it necessary to come and table our request before the Commission," the VC said.

He added that "As a body that is established by law, our plea is that you look into the issues that we have raised and assist the staff of the National Open University Nigeria, the management of the University especially myself to be able to provide more equitable remuneration of staff that other staff are enjoying in conventional universities.”

Responding, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) Ekpo Nta, Esq, while thanking the VC and his entourage for the visit, lauded the University for its contributions to human and national development.   

Nta, who specifically commended NOUN in the areas of admission processes, exams, script, course materials and the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for teaching and learning, urged the institution to keep to its academic standard.

While disclosing his intention for partnership with NOUN in the areas of research and innovation,  the NSIWC Chair promised to look into the University's request adding that a committee would be set up to that effect.