Sunday, May 29, 2022
Home Education FG not responsible for lingering ASUU strike – Minister

FG not responsible for lingering ASUU strike – Minister

FG not responsible for lingering ASUU strike – Minister

The Hon. Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba has said Federal Government is no longer responsible for the lingering strike by the Academic and Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

The Minister who spoke on Channels Television said that there is nothing stopping the lecturers from returning to classrooms. He advised the striking lecturer to get on board with with the government’s payment plan for salary.

“The lecturers can be back in the classroom tomorrow if they say they want to go back. There is nothing withholding the lecturers from entering the classroom tomorrow.

“Everything that the government needs to do is done.  If you want your salaries, get on the platform and collect your salaries,” the Minister said.

Recall that last week in an interview granted by ASUU President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, he was asked about the update on the seven-month strike, and he said, “Nothing has changed significantly. We have presented our issues. We started with five, and we now have six issues. These are revitalization of universities; renegotiation of 2009 agreement; visitation panels to universities; proliferation of universities, particularly by state governments and of course Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) of members.

The starting point is to say that those were outstanding issues from the memorandum of agreement signed with the government on February 7, 2019, which the government has not done anything significant to address. But since then, Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) has been elevated almost over and above these other issues earlier highlighted. Recall that it was as a result of that we engaged the government on developing an alternative to IPPIS; which we have since developed to an advanced stage. We have presented it to the minister of education and members of his team, the Senate President, and to a larger audience in the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, where all major stakeholders were represented – Ministries of Labour and Unemployment; Education, Office of the Accountant-General itself, Finance and, of course, experts from the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the body that regulates information technology development in the country.

We have done all those presentations and the general impression was that our alternative, called University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), is superior to IPPIS. However, because of the need to fulfill the requirement of integrity test, we were expected to follow up on that.

We believed that with all that we have done, the government has no reason to withhold salaries of our members, which in some cases, are five months now, and in some other cases, as many as eight or nine months, including their EAA, salaries and check-off dues of our union. As long as they continue to withhold the salaries of our members, they are not paving way for smooth resolution of the crisis. We are at that point where we need to resolve the issue of mode of payment for what the government owes our members. We feel that some agents of the government could be doing this to escalate the crisis, even though the government has made promises about the five issues we raised, we are yet to see them activated.

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