The Senate yesterday gave its nod to a bill seeking to increase the retirement age of academic staff in professorial cadre from 65 to 70 years in Nigerian universities.
The upper chamber also approved, as pension, an equivalent rate of “last month salary” for retired professors from recognized universities.
In light of this, the Senate President, David Mark urged the Academic staff union of Universities (ASUU) to call off their strike which commenced last November. Mark while thanking the senators for passing the bill said: “I hope that having passed the bill, ASUU will call off the strike and go back to work in the universities.”
The harmonized bill is for an Act to further amend the Universities (miscellaneous provisions) Act 1993 to increase the retirement age for academic staff in the professorial cadre and non-academic staff and other matters connected therewith.
The Senate had mandated its committee on education to merge the two separate bills - one executive bill and the second private member bill sponsored by Senator Uche Chukwumerije.
According to provisions in the harmonised bill, “Section 8 of the principal act as amended by the substituting the existing section for the following new section 8 as follows: as from the commencement of this act, the compulsory age for Academic staff in the professorial cadre is 70, and non academic staff is 65.
“Any academic staff who retires as a professor in a recognized university shall be entitled to pension at a rate equivalent to his last monthly salary - provided that the professor has served continuously for 20 years in a recognized university up to retirement age.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, noted that the bills despite being passed at the end of the 6th Senate could not receive the consent of the executive arm of government because of some observations raised by ASUU which led to their industrial disharmony and impasse with the federal government.
Explaining the actions taken by the committee Sen. Chukwumerije said the committee had called for and received memoranda from ASUU and other relevant stakeholders before it went on Christmas break.