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ASUU Strike: We’ve made concessions, lecturers say, blame govt



The ASUU president said the government’s insistence on paying
the withheld salaries and other entitlements of its members
through the IPPIS has stalled negotiation.


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged
the Federal Government to leave the Integrated Payroll
Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a condition to call off
its ongoing strike in the country.
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said this in a statement
made available on Sunday in Abuja. He said the ongoing
strike may still linger if the government failed to meet its
demand.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUU had
embarked on a nationwide strike on March 23 to press on its
demands which include revitalisation allowance, Earned
Academic Allowances (EAA), renegotiation of the 2009
agreement, visitation panels, among others.
“Nigerians should bear with us. ASUU is doing their battle,”
Mr Ogunyemi said.
“Our Union is struggling to ensure that the children of the
poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private
universities or do not have opportunities to study outside
Nigeria, get quality education which is not priced beyond
their reach.

“This will only happen when the government adequately
funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in
them.
“ASUU has shifted positions in some respects.
“For instance, our members have reduced their demand of
one tranche N220billion of the outstanding revitalization fund
by 50 per cent.
“The Union has also agreed that N30billion out of the so far
verified arrears of N40 billion of the earned academic
allowances (EAA) be paid to our members while the balance
of N10 billion could be spread over the next two tranches.
“We were equally making steady progress on other issues,” he
said.
The ASUU president said what had stalled meaningful
dialogue was the government’s insistence that payment of the
withheld salaries and other entitlements of its members
would only be effected through the Integrated Payroll and
Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He added that the government was punishing university
teachers because they rejected IPPIS, which was imposed on
the universities against the provisions of the law on autonomy
and universal practices.
He however, said that ASUU was at the final stage of the
integrity test of the Transparency and Accountability Solution
(UTAS) with the National Information Technology
Development Agency (NITDA).
UTAS was developed locally by ASUU members, unlike IPPIS
which was engineered by the World Bank, he said.
Mr Ogunyemi said UTAS had been presented to the Minister
of Education and senior management staff, the President and
leadership of the Senate, and the Office of the Accountant-
General where NITDA and Office of the National Security
Adviser and other MDAs were fully represented.
“Last Thursday, 5th November, 2020, the
National Universities Commission (NUC)
facilitated the presentation of UTAS to
Vice-Chancellors and Bursars of federal universities.
“All questions raised at the four levels of presentation of
UTAS were satisfactorily answered.
“With the full cooperation of the concerned agencies, the final
test with NITDA could be completed as a matter of days and
UTAS adopted in place of IPPIS in our universities.
“ASUU disagrees with the government on the use of IPPIS
during the so-called transition period.
“In practical terms, there is no transition period if the
government is sincere,” Mr Ogunyemi said.
The ASUU president said it would take a longer period to
capture more than three-quarters of its members who were
not yet on IPPIS than the time required to run through the last
stage of the integrity test for UTAS.
He added that the claim by the government that the platform
used in paying its members’ salaries before the imposition of
IPPIS had been dismantled was not true.
He noted that some of its members who had not enrolled in
IPPIS were paid part of their withheld salaries last week.
“But, in furtherance of the attack on ASUU, the Accountant-
General of the Federation (AGF) has illegally seized all the
deducted union check-off dues of our members in the last
nine months.
“So, the government should release all what is due ASUU
members and the union without the conditionality of IPPIS.
“That would enable us to conclude on the outstanding five
demands including revitalisation, EAA, renegotiation of the
2009 Agreement, inauguration of the Visitation Panels.
“Others are the proliferation of state universities and
governance issues in them of the union to pave way for the
quick resolution of the lingering crisis.
“It is government that is prolonging the matter, not ASUU,” he
added.( NAN )