Looming strike: Hold FG responsible, ASUU tells parents

ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke

At least two zones of the Academic Staff Union of Universities have asked Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible if the body of university lecturers embarks on another strike.

The Abuja and Bauchi zones of the union said this on Tuesday while accusing the government of not implementing the agreement it signed with the lecturers in December 2020.

In March 2020, ASUU embarked on a strike as a result of its disagreement with the Federal Government on the funding of universities, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution, funding and revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, promotion arrears and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

ASUU held several meetings with the Federal Government on the UTAS and the other issues, which were approved by the government, with a promise of prompt implementation.

The government’s assurance of implementation, which was accompanied by the signing of a Memorandum of Action, led to the calling off of the strike on December 24, 2020, after the Federal Government also agreed to exclude ASUU members from the IPPIS.

However, ASUU for some weeks now has been urging the government to fulfil the agreements contained in the Memorandum of Action, which it signed with the union.

As a result, the Abuja zone of the union, at its congress on Tuesday, accused the Federal Government of reneging on its promises and warned that such an action could lead to a fresh industrial action in the nation’s universities.

The zone comprises the Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State; Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State; Nasarawa State University, Keffi; Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State; and the University of Abuja.

The union said it could no longer guarantee industrial harmony in public universities due to the attitude of the government to the agreements.

The zonal coordinator, Dr Salahu Lawal, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja.

Lawal urged Nigerians and parents with children in public universities to hold the government responsible for the consequences that might arise from the non-implementation of the MoA.

He said, “Recall that our union signed a Memorandum of Action with the government, leading to the suspension of the 2020 strike action in February 2021, but almost nine months on, ASUU is again calling on the government to honour its promises to the Nigerian people on the immediate deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

“The government, as it has always done, again reneged on its promises to the union and the nation, a development that can lead to another industrial action in the universities.

“We, therefore, demand the implementation of all outstanding provisions in the February 7, 2021 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action; the immediate deployment of ASUU’s innovation of a more robust system of human resources management and compensation called the UTAS; and the immediate payment of outstanding earned academic allowances to our members.

“We also demand the full implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement as renegotiated in 2021 based on the ILO’s collective bargaining principle; immediate action on the report of the presidential visitation panels to federal universities without delay; and immediate action on the recommendations of the committee on state universities.

“We urge all Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible if the union decides to embark on another industrial action following the non-implementation of the MoA.”

Lawal added that signing into law the draft renegotiated 2009 agreement and the release of revitalisation funds to public universities would address the deplorable conditions under which students live and learn.

He stated, “ASUU has for long laid bare to both the government and Nigerians the decrepit state of infrastructure on our campuses, which has been the bane of research activities in our universities.

“Our call for urgent intervention in this respect has been acknowledged by the government.”

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