The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has revealed that it would not suspend its ongoing strike until the federal government pays outstanding three-to-seven months withheld salaries.
ASUU also said that the government had to fulfill other demands including approving University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) as the mode of payment over the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The union disclosed this in a statement released by the Zonal Coordinator of the Ibadan Zone, Professor Ade Adejumo. According to the statement, Prof Adejumo faulted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, saying he lied that the government was not owing lecturers any salary on a TV broadcast.
According to the statement, ASUU alleged that the federal government agencies have been footdragging on early resolution of the ongoing strike anchored on implementation of outstanding components of the 2009 FG-ASUU agreement, revitalization funding of Universities, unpaid earned academic allowances, and renegotiation of the agreement for upward review of salaries of lecturers to conform with contemporary reality.
ASUU blamed the post-colonial Nigerian governments for its attack on the education sector which it believes contributes to the underdevelopment of the nation. According to the union, the government has become a shadow of itself.
The union wrote, “It should be noted that ASUU went on strike as a result of the combination of three inter-related factors: Nigerian governments’ increasing anti-labour policies and the history of sabotage in the education sector and the government’s refusal to honour the agreement reached with the union for the revitalization of public sector universities. ASUU is particularly disappointed because we assumed that the government’s public outlook was based on the anti-corruption constantly orchestrated by this government.”
It explained further, “We are pained and disturbed that the honourable Minister of Labour and Employment does not seem to be aware that the salaries of the nation’s academic staff in the public universities have not been paid for upward of three to seven months. For the benefit of Nigerians, ASUU wishes to state that in sharp contrast to President Buhari’s directive on University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), the respective government agencies involved are deliberately delaying its endorsement for implementation. The ministries involved may wish to know that the inhumane treatment that ASUU is being subjected to has further emboldened us to rescue the soul of Nigeria’s public University education.”
ASUU stated that the ongoing strike would not be called off until the government proactively responded to the demands of the union and made the knowledge industry a priority.
The statement concluded, “Hence, the government and the ministries involved need to do the needful, i.e. meet with ASUU in order for academic activities to resume. The starting point for this is the payment of withheld salaries of academics in Nigeria’s public universities.”