ASUU declares two-week warning strike, alleges FG ignores agreements

The  Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday began  a two-week strike  to  press the Federal Government to implement its 2019 agreement and resolution.

Also, the  University of Port Harcourt branch of the union  described as “all deception” the claim by the Federal Government that lecturers who  refused  to enrol on the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System would not be paid their salaries.

The Chairman of  UNIPORT ASUU, Dr Austen Sado, warned that there would consequences should they find out that the lecturers  were not  paid based on the IPPIS controversy.

ASUU has been at loggerheads  with the Federal Government  over the introduction of the IPPIS in October last year  to ensure transparency in salary payment.

But ASUU kicked against the  IPPIS  on the grounds that  that it  was in gross violation of the autonomy of universities as enshrined in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2003.

The  Federal Government  insisted  all  members  of the union must be enrolled on the platform  just like  other government  employees.

In its communiqué at the end of its two-day National Executive Council meeting  at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology read by its  National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, at a press conference  at Dannic Hotel, Enugu, ASUU said the  strike was to compel the FG to implement the outstanding agreement and resolution of it Memorandum of Action it had with the union in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019.

Ogunyemi said, “Having discussed the provisions in the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding and the 2017 Memorandum of Action,  which have not been implemented, NEC resolved to embark on  a two-week warning strike with effect from March 9, 2020 to compel the government to implement the agreement and resolution.”

The union   said by meddling in the internal affairs of the Nigerian university system,  the FG would be eroding  the autonomy of the  universities and  making them incapable of fulfilling  their mandates.

The union chief added, “The needless siege of  the Nigerian university system through the imposition of policies will only compound the woes of the universities, will ultimately further drag Nigeria into a  morass of chronic underdevelopment.

“The persistent poor funding characteristic of state-owned universities portends a collapse of the system. It is even more disheartening that many states that cannot adequately fund their existing universities are establishing new ones for political gains.”

Ogunyemi  decried the security challenges facing the country, saying ASUU was not happy about  the situation.

He said, “ASUU calls on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, overhaul the nation’s security architecture. The failure of the Federal Government to ensure the safety  of citizens has led to the emergence of sporadic security outfits. This is a sign that the Federal Government has failed to protect Nigerian citizens as stipulated in the constitution.”

Although the   body   is  against all forms of sexual harassment, it  faulted  the Sexual Harassment Bill. Ogunyemi said,  “The attempt by the National Assembly to enact a law that seeks to criminalise a section of society and is targeted specifically against tertiary institutions violates the rule of jurisprudence that law should not be targeted at specific persons or group. It is discriminatory and against the principle of natural justice.

“Sexual harassment can occur in all forms of human relations – in religious, in legislative houses, among security officers and in all workplaces.”

 Sado told The PUNCH in a telephone interview that they would wait for the  ASUU congress that likely  to hold on Wednesday to get information on the next line of action.

He said,  “It is all deception to say that those who did not register  for the  IPPIS won’t be paid  their salaries. They need to tell us the true state of our economy. Have they paid those on the  IPPIS? Nobody should hide under the IPPIS issue not to pay us.

“We don’t have to meet physically on the  IPPIS. Once it is clear to us that members have not been paid on account of non-registration, there will consequences.

“Many of the organisations that have enrolled on the  IPPIS since last year; have they paid them February salary? Nigerians should begin to ask this government questions about its sincerity with the management of the economy.

“The reason we are waiting is that those who have enrolled on the  IPPIS and those who did not enrol have not been paid. That is why they  should tell us the true state of our economy and the true reason why they have not paid salaries.”

Copyright PUNCH.

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