The ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has been extended by another four weeks. This was disclosed in a release signed by the President of the Union, President Emmanuel Osodeke, on Monday, August 1.
The Union said the roll-over was to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The strike is due to the failure of the federal government to renegotiate the agreement it signed with ASUU in 2009 including adequate funding of the system, replacement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), with the UTAS, as the payment platform in the university sector, among others.
The teachers say that IPPIS has never worked in any university system anywhere, adding that the system shuts the doors against foreign scholars, contract officers and researchers needed to be poached from existing universities to stabilize new ones.
But the Federal Government insists that the payment model is for transparency and neither intended to trample upon university autonomy.
By the extension, the face-off which commenced on February 14, has entered its sixth month, leaving universities locked and students stranded.
The Statement by ASUU reads:
Review of the roll-over strike
1. An emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Sunday, 31th July, 2022. The meeting was called to review developments since NEC’s resolution to extend its roll-over strike action by another 12 weeks with effect from 9h May, 2022.
2. The NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations as spelt out in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with ASUU on 23rd December 2020. Specifically, NEC recalled that government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release agreed sum of money for the revitalization of public universities (Federal and States), address proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, settle promotion arrears, release withheld salaries of academics, and pay outstanding third-party deductions led to the initial declaration of the roll-over strike on 14th February, 2022.
3. NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks. The Union wonders why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.
4. NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria. Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper and our scholars must be incentivized to stay back and do what they know best, here in Nigeria.
5. NEC appreciated the historic nationwide protest of 26th and 27th July, 2022 organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to further create awareness on the antics of the Nigerian ruling class to destroy public education. ASUU renews its commitment to the struggles of NLC in championing the cause of the working and suffering Nigerians.
6. NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.
7. NEC further observed that the on-going trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed ldris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS). The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-à-vis IPPIS without further delay. ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the Union.
8. NEC noted that cumulative indifference by the political class gave vent to pervasive atmosphere of insecurity which now threatens seamless provision of educational services in the country. The unceremonious closure of educational institutions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the recent attack on Presidential Guards, betrays a panicky measure to addressing a malignant ailment. Nothing short of a comprehensive overhaul of the security architecture of the country will sustainably address the problem.
9. Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of Government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The role-over strike action is with effect from 12.01a.m. on Monday, 1st August, 2022.