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ASUU to FG: You’ll have no rest until outstanding issues are resolved

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THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday told the federal government that it would not have any rest until all the outstanding issues affecting the country’s tertiary education were resolved.

At a press conference in Awka, the chairman of ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Comrade Stephen Ofoaror observed that peace in the nation’s ivory towers is being threatened again, warning that the dark cloud was as a result of the failure of the Federal Government to honour the agreement it willingly entered into with ASUU on 23rd December, 2020.

He said: “You may recall that in the effort to resolve the ASUU strike which lasted for nine months  ( March 2020 to December 2020), a Memorandum of Action (MOA) was entered into between the representatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on the 22nd December, 2020.

“We make bold to state that most of the timelines specified in that MOA have been breached by the Federal Government for more than 12 calendar months.

“True to their character, the Federal Government of Nigeria has reneged from signing and implementing the re-negotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement. The magnanimity of the Academic Staff Union of Universities that resulted in various MOUs and MOAs arising from the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement has been spurned by the Federal Government. “As we speak, the Federal Government is still in arrears of major components of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement, that includes funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, and the signing and implementation renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement.

“The situation has been compounded by the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and the attendant consequences of mutilated and amputated salaries, non-payment of promotion arrears and the non-adoption of the better local produced Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for payment of personnel cost in universities”. 

He said that as at 1st February, 2022, ASUU members were owed between one month to two years arrears of salaries, adding that the situation is more pathetic in some state-owned universities, especially in the South East including Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University of Anambra State where there are no pension scheme, non-payment of several years of earned academic allowances among others.

Ofoaror regretted that all efforts to get government   to respond and resolve the challenges had woefully failed, adding, “rather, the representatives/agents of the government are claiming that the Federal Government of Nigeria entered into various agreements, MOUs   and MOAs under duress”.

He added: “Where lies the supremacy of ASUU as to coerce the Federal Government to enter into agreement under duress?  Our gathering here is an early warning shot that we are reluctantly being driven to the point of entering another vicious cycle barely one year since the last traumatic experience.

“We use this opportunity to appeal to well-meaning Nigerian, including our religious leaders, traditional rulers, parents, students, the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and indeed every stakeholder to prevail on the Federal Government to fulfill the agreements reached with ASUU so as to save our public Universities from being short down again.

“We appeal to student bodies, parents and the masses to join ASUU in the struggle to save the soul of our public universities before it will go the way of public secondary and primary schools in Nigeria.

“We are all aware that more than 95% of public office holder send their children to foreign Universities with tax payers’ money and refuse to fund public universities. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“We once again alert   Nigerians, that unless the federal government strives to sincerely resolve these issues, there will be no rest for us all.

“There will be no more MOUs or MOAs. When the macabre dance begins, there will be no stopping it until everything is fully implemented.

“The insincerity of the Federal Government is not just beyond understanding, it is beyond tolerance”.

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