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ASUU Strike Continues, Government Not Transparent – Prof Ogunyemi




The Academic Staff Union of Universities has dismissed the directive by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to resume on Monday, 12th, 2020.

ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, on Monday, noted that the Federal Government is not plain in its dealings and discussion with the union.

He further stated that the lecturers under the union would not resume back to office on an empty stomach.

Ogunyemi added that Nigerians should be ready for a longer strike due to the technique employed by the Federal Government in negotiation.

The Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, on Monday also stated that the Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System is not transparent

The Union accused the government of cheating some of its members.

Recall that members of NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities began a 14-day warning strike on Monday over the adoption of the IPPIS in universities and non-payment of the minimum wage to their members.

Naija News had earlier reported that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Friday noted that the government have approved the reopening of educational institutions beginning from Monday, October 12.

Ogunyemi while responding to question on when the strike would end, said, “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach. You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met. It is a very clear decision that anybody will make in this circumstance.”

The ASUU chairman further stated that the union reached out to FG stating that it is ready to demonstrate its University Transparency Accountability Solution, which is designed as an alternative to the IPPIS.

According to him, the union did not receive the government’s reply until September 30.

Explaining contents of the letters, he stated, “They said they were considering our requests for a meeting. Mainly, we raised two points in the letter we wrote to them, that we are ready to demonstrate our platform which is the alternative to the IPPIS. We had earlier presented it to the Ministry of Education, although we told the Ministry of Labour that they should facilitate presentation to other stakeholders, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. It is from there we are being dribbled.”

ASUU president stated, “The AGF has withheld salaries of our members. The salaries withheld range from three months to eight months and I don’t think that is good negotiations. If you think you can use hunger as a weapon of war against Nigerian academics, it means the government is not sincere about building an enviable university system in Nigeria.”

“All these games of arm-twisting, intimidation and manipulation will not take them far and that is why we want Nigerians to prevail on the AGF to stop this attack on our members. He is using hunger as a weapon of war and he should get ready to be tried for genocide.”

“We have reasons to believe they are trying to frustrate the new platform we have developed and we are not going to take that kind because we used the contributions of our members to develop that platform. We didn’t take a kobo from the government because we thought we should demonstrate patriotism.”

He recalled that at a meeting between the union and the government-held on March 17, issues such as visitation panel to universities earned academic allowances and revitalisation of the institutions were discussed.

“I want to assure Nigerians that while the AGF may claim that he is achieving his objectives by humiliating some lecturers, we have a vast majority of our lecturers who are resolute and they are ready and steady in the ongoing struggle and at the appropriate time the showdown will come and Nigerians will see the truth about what is behind the IPPIS,” Ogunyemi stated.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, during an interview with Punch, noted that all lecturers had migrated to the IPPIS.

He said, “I think every ASUU member has been paid. They received their last salary in July, which was the period transfers were made last. What they haven’t received are their August and September salaries.”

On the allegations against the AGF, he said funds for salaries were not being given to universities but paid into individuals’ accounts.

He stated, “You remember that the President gave a directive that they should be paid, so they submitted their details which were then used to migrate them to the IPPIS. So while they were still protesting that they didn’t want to be on the IPPIS, the IPPIS platform accommodated and paid them.”

“Even when they were on strike, we kept paying them. We paid in March, April, May, June and July. They are now on the IPPIS because, during the period of the lockdown, there was no other way to pay them. When they gave us their bank verification numbers, we migrated them to the IPPIS and we are now paying them on the IPPIS.”

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