ASUU Strike Indefinite; Lecturers Won’t Work on Empty Stomach

The recent revelation on Monday shows that students of public universities in the country would further remain at home as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU dismissed the Federal Government’s directive that all educational institutions in the country should resume on Monday, 12th October.

There has been report of manipulation, intimidation of lecturers by the Federal Government according to ASUU president, Prof. Ogunyemi.

Recall that all educational institutions in the country were shut in March due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

But before March, the Federal Government and ASUU had been at loggerheads over the IPPIS, which the later said should not be adopted in universities because it would violate their autonomy.

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.”

Berating the AGF, 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 kindly because we used the contributions of our members to develop that platform. We didn’t take a kobo from 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.

Efforts to get reactions of the Director of Information in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Henshaw Ogubike, did not succeed as he had not responded to questions sent to his phone as of the time of sending this report. He had earlier requested that the questions should be sent to his phone.

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said all lecturers had migrated to the IPPIS.

Read Also: Education Students to Get Stipends, Automatic Employment – Buhari

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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