The Academic Staff Union of Universities has threatened to resume the industrial action it suspended in December 2020 as a result of the Federal Government’s failure to honour many of the agreements it signed with it.
The Chairman, ASUU, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Dr Ibrahim Inuwa, stated this while speaking with select journalists at the union’s secretariat on Saturday.
He said the protracted strike, which was to press home the union members’ demands for the continuous survival of the public university system in Nigeria, was suspended in December after the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the various issues and providing timelines for the implementation of each of the eight items in the agreement.
Inuwa, who said over seven months after the MoU was signed, only two out of the eight issues had been addressed, listed some of the outstanding issues to include payment of earned academic allowance, funding for revitalisation of public universities, salary shortfall, proliferation of state universities and setting up of visitation panels.
Others are renegotiation, replacement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution and withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
Inuwa stated, “Only payment of salary shortfall and constitution of visitation panels to federal universities have been addressed.
“Renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, which would have been completed within eight weeks from the date of inauguration of the committee, has up till now not been concluded even though the committee was inaugurated in December 2020.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria willingly agreed that the UTAS will replace the IPPIS as a payment platform in federal universities after it passed an integrity test. However, soon after the agreement, agents of the Federal Government were doing everything possible to frustrate the coming of UTAS onboard.
“Meanwhile, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, through the IPPIS office, has continued to omit our members from payment of salaries, while others experience serious salary amputation. We are convinced that this is done in connivance with the university administration through the distortion of our members’ personal details.”
Inuwa stated that the body language of the Federal Government on the proliferation of State Universities showed that it was not willing to put a stop to it, stressing that instead, it had joined in the proliferation of universities by establishing more and ignoring the obvious challenge of funding.
Inuwa added, “Enough is enough. ASUU is fed up with the deceptive antics of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The university campuses are becoming restive across the length and breadth of the country as members of the academia are threatening to shut down activities once again. This is coming as a result of the failure of the FG to implement many aspects of the Memorandum of Action it willingly signed with ASUU that ended the last strike in December 2020.”