The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday, said it might be compelled to embark on another strike if the Federal Government failed to implement the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action signed with it prior to the suspension of the last strike.
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Benin, Prof. Fred Esumeh, told newsmen while speaking on ‘Another Inevitable Round of Crisis in Nigerian Universities.’
Esumeh who did not disclose when the strike would commence, said they awaited the decision of the national body to give the directive.
Recall that in March 2020, ASUU embarked on a strike action following its disagreement with the FG over the funding of the universities and ineffectiveness and discrepancies around the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and others.
ASUU, however, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution to replace IPPIS and had several meetings with the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation before it was approved but yet to be implemented.
Esumeh said: “For the records, that strike action was declared on the 23rd of March 2020 over the federal government’s failure to honour the terms of an earlier 7th February 2019 MoA in which the federal government had freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement.
“The specific issues remain that the federal government deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as the payment platform for university staff, the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances.
“Others are the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of public universities, the unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, the continued non-payment of promotion arrears, the non-payment of withheld salaries and the non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.”
Likewise, in a letter dated September 9, 2021 and jointly signed by the Plateau State University branch chairman of ASUU, Dr Pamson Bentse and the Secretary, Samson Bitrus specifically accused Governor Simon Lalong led administration of failing to settle the national minimum wage arrears owed the lecturers within the first quarter of 2021 as well as failing to effect immediate release of N70 million as part payment of the Earned Academic Allowance arrears for the first tranche while the second tranche of N72 million will be due in October, among others.
They also accused the government of failing to commence the payment of mainstreamed Earned Academic Allowance from January,2021 and failing to commence the construction of staff quarters within the second quarter of 2021 as well as failing to complete the perimeter fencing of the university among other issues as contained in the Memorandum of Action.
The letter titled “Request for ASUU-PLASU branch to embark on a strike” read, “Congress reviewed the level of implementation of the March 2nd 2021 ASUU-PLASU/Plateau State Government Memorandum of Action and resolved as follows; the government has failed to deploy the services of fifteen armed Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps on resumption; government has failed to settle the national minimum wage arrears within the first quarter of 2021; failed to effect immediate release of N70 million as part payment of the Earned Academic Allowance arrears for the first tranche while the second tranche of N72 million will be due in October.”
In another development, the Sokoto Zonal Coordinator of Academic Staff Union of Universities, Jamilu Shehu, in Katsina decried deteriorating condition of many state owned universities.
He insisted that many states Governors were establishing the universities for political patronage rather than for the advancement of fields of knowledge.
The ASUU zonal chairman called on Governors to stop establishing universities for states if they knew that they could not cater for them.
Shehu made the declaration while addressing journalists on the current faceoff between the Federal Government and the ASUU.
According to him, many state-owned universities are battling with numerous challenges ranging from lack of funding, payment of salary, pension and Earned Academic Allowances, domestication of the 2003 and 2012 (Amendment Act) Universities Miscellaneous Provision, among other issues.