The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says only two of its eight demands have been met by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in the last nine months.
The Ibadan zone of the union disclosed this in a statement after its meeting at the Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso chaired by its coordinator, Oyebamiji Oyegoke.
Others in attendance included the chairpersons from the University of Ibadan, Ayo Akinwole, Moyosore Ajao (UNILORIN), Biodun Olaniran (LAUTECH) and Shehu Salau (KWASU).
Mr Oyegoke said strike was “a ticking bomb” and feared that it would engulf the educational system in another crisis.
“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,” the statement quoted him to have said. “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 (UTAS) have not been addressed.”
Mr Oyegoke further stated that the proliferation of state universities, release of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues of unions contained in the December 22, 2020, Memorandum of Action, had 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,” he explained. “The same minister confirmed on August 2, 2021, that the money is still in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), only awaiting application by the minister of Education for eventual transfer to the NEEDS Assessment Fund Account.”
The ASUU representative added, “That the government is working hard to facilitate the release of money by the CBN since January 2021 leaves a sour taste in the mouth.”
On IPPIS versus UTAS, he explained that withholding salaries for months, non-release of EAA, non-payment of check-off dues accruing to the union, despite ASUU’s commitment to resolving the impasse, could only be an invitation to another possible cycle of industrial crisis.
“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,” said Mr Oyegoke. “The more the government insists on fulfilling the demands of the integrity test on UTAS, the longer the accompanying pains earlier identified in IPPIS will stay with our members.”
The unionist further noted that Mr Buhari’s regime promised that “a broader government team and an inter-ministerial committee on the draft renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement would conclude its work and submit the report to the government” by the end of August 2021.
“The meeting concluded with an agreement to reconvene by the end of August 2021 to ascertain the faithfulness of the federal government in resolving the outstanding issues,” added Mr Oyegoke. “We are in the second week of September 2021, nothing positive from the federal government so far.”