By Khadija Muhammad
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed concern over how the Federal Government of Nigeria is handling the demands of the universities unseriously. Together with other union leaders, he expressed their dismay at a press conference in Abuja on November 15, 2021.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) issued a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to address all issues as agreed in the December 2020 Agreement.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this on Monday while addressing reporters in Abuja.
The president warned that the union might be compelled to embark on another nationwide strike should the government fail to implement the Memorandum of Action signed with ASUU before suspending the last industrial action.
According to the ASUU President, all the issues, including unpaid academic earned allowances and the universities revitalisation fund, have not been addressed almost one year after an agreement was reached.
The ultimatum is part of the resolutions reached at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ASUU held in the nation’s capital.
It can be recalled that ASUU embarked on a nationwide strike in March 2020 following its disagreement with the government over the funding of the universities and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), among other issues. Accordingly, it had proposed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace IPPIS. But in a bid to get the lecturers back to class, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, convened a series of meetings with leaders of the union and relevant government officials.
Amid the strike that lasted several months and negotiations that ended in a deadlock, the government and ASUU later signed a Memorandum of Action in December 2020. This led to the suspension of the protracted industrial action that lasted nine months. However, not after the government offered a cumulative N65 billion to the lecturers to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.
On the IPPIS tussle, both parties agreed on the UTAS, while the government would pay the university lecturers’ salary arrears on a different platform.
ASUU had on several occasions warned that it would indeed go on strike if the federal government continued to break the promises and throw away all the agreements reached.