From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) yesterday, said it might be compelled to embark on another round of strike if the federal government failed to implement the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with it prior to the suspension of the latter’s strike.
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Fred I. Esumeh, disclosed this to newsmen in Benin while speaking on what he themed “Another Inevitable Round of Crisis in Nigerian Universities”.
Prof. Esumeh who did not disclose when the strike will commence, said they await the decision of the national body to give the directive.
Esumeh said for the records, that strike action was declared on the 23rd of March 2020 over the federal government’s failure to honour the terms of an earlier 7th February 2019 MoA in which the federal government had freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement.
Esumeh added that the specific issues remain that the federal government deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university staff, the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA),
Others are the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of public universities, the universities, the unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, the continued non-payment of promotion arrears, the non-payment of withheld salaries and the non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.
The Zonal ASUU coordinator maintained that on the 2nd of August, 2021, ASUU and the federal government met over the issues listed above with the Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC), the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and other relevant bodies, all in attendance where the government’s team assured ASUU that all the outstanding issues would have been fully addressed by on the 31st of August 2021.
He lamented that up till this moment, the federal government is yet to implement any of the agreements with the ASUU.
While reacting to the question that the nation is just trying to pick up from the woods after the COVID-19 locked down, #ENDSARS protest and ASUU strike, and that it should not contemplate strike, he said the federal government has all it takes to pay up the N40 billion revitalisation fund, meet ASUU’s needs noting that they just don’t want to pay considering the billions allegedly siphoned in the country.
He also blamed the state governments for devaluing the university system in Nigeria.