Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and Ibrahim Oyawale In Lokoja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday said it would embark on indefinite strike if the federal government insisted on the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Also, the union accused the federal government of plotting to scuttle academic activities in public universities.
It urged all well-meaning Nigerians to stand up and stop the grand design to scuttle the pursuit of their children.
In separate news conferences yesterday, ASUU Coordinator, Bauchi Zone, Prof. Lawan Abubakar and his counterpart in Nsukka Zone, Dr. Igbana Ajir faulted the federal government’s insistence on implementing the IPPIS.
At the conference held at the ASUU secretariat, University of Jos, yesterday, Abubakar blamed the federal government for reneging on the implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement it reached with the union in February 2019.
He noted that the conference became necessary “to present the issues in contention to the public as contained in the agreement, which include provision of sustainable funding for revitalisation of public universities, payment of the arrears of earned academic allowances up to 2018 in four instalments, mainstreaming of further payments into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 and payment of arrears of shortfall in salaries among others.”
He said ASUU was grossly disappointed at the lack of commitment displayed by the federal government towards the implementation of the MoA aimed at persuading the union to suspend the then 2018/2019 industrial action.
Abubakar explained that it was expected of the government “to reciprocate the gesture with a faithful implementation of the agreement instead of blackmailing ASUU, causing division in the union, forcing implementation of the IPPIS on the union.
“The universities should be allowed to operate an individually independent system, controlled by their various councils and supervised by the National Universities Commission (NUC), in line with international standards and global best practices and not a centralised and dependent structure of the civil service.”
Abubakar expressed disappointment in the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who described the warning strike as illegal, and also the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who had been misinterpreting facts on the enrolment into IPPIS
ASUU also decried the persecution of its members in Kogi State University, Anyingba since July 2017, adding that the union had been proscribed without a recourse to the law of the land and sacked over 120 members of ASUU of loyal to the university.
“Those actions are both monumental and inimical to the grow of the university. Our members and their families are being subjected to untold hardship. Needless to say that since 2017, the fortunes of the university has dangerously degenerated to a poor shadow of what it used to be,” he lamented.
He also bemoaned the level of insecurity in the country which he said was alarming, noting that kidnapping, armed robbery, hostage taking of all kinds banditry, militancy, herdsmen attack on settled communities have become so rife that they appeared to have overwhelmed the security agencies.