Strike: FG addressed two of eight demands, ASUU counters Ngige

Strike: FG addressed two of eight demands, ASUU counters Ngige

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has countered claims by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, that about 98 per cent of the demands by the lecturers have been met.

In a statement on Thursday, the Ibadan zone of the union said the Federal Government had met only two of eight demands contained on December 22, 2020, Memorandum of Action since the last nine months.

The statement, which was issued after the union’s meeting at the Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso chaired by its Coordinator in LAUTECH, Prof. Oyebamiji Oyegoke.

In 2020, a nine-month strike by ASUU, which commenced in March and was called off in December, paralysed public universities in the country.

The lecturers had gone on strike following their disagreement with the government over the funding of the universities and ineffectiveness and discrepancies around the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, among others.

ASUU, however, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution to replace the IPPIS and had several meetings with officials of the ministries of finance, education, labour and employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation before the UTAS was approved, but it has yet to be implemented.

Frustrated by FG’s approach, the ASUU zone threatened that there could be another “ticking bomb”, saying the government is yet to address the release of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues of the union among others.

Part of the statement read, “For the avoidance of doubt, ASUU stated that only salary shortfall and setting up of Visitation Panels to the Federal Government-owned universities have been addressed by the government in nine months.

“Other demands such as the renegotiation of conditions of service, injection of revitalisation funds, payment of earned academic allowances, implementation of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution have not been addressed

“The claim by the Minister of Labour and Employment that the money allocated for Revitalisation of Public Universities had been paid as contained in the MoA of 2020, cannot be true.

“The same Minister confirmed on August 2, 2021, that the money is still in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria, only awaiting application by the Minister of Education for eventual transfer to the NEEDS Assessment Fund Account.

“That government is working hard to facilitate the release of money by the CBN since January 2021 leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”

ASUU expressed displeasure the government withheld salaries for months, failed to release EAA and check-off dues accruing to the union.

The statement added, “Moreover, UTAS avowed suitability has been demonstrated admirably to the Minister of Education and members of his team, the Honourable Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“And other key stakeholders like Ministries of Labour and Employment; Education, Finance, Office of the Accountant-General, representatives of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency.

“The more the government insists on fulfilling the demands of integrity test on UTAS, the longer will be the accompanying pains earlier identified in IPPIS will stay our members.”

Chairpersons in attendance, according to the statement, are the Chairpersons from the University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayo Akinwole; UNILORIN, Prof. Moyosore Ajao; LAUTECH, Dr Biodun Olaniran and KWASU, Dr Shehu Salau.


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