From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), yesterday, threatened to embark on another round of strike if the Federal Government failed to implement the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed prior to the suspension of its recent industrial action.
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.”
Esumeh did no, however, say when the strike would commence, saying the decision would be taken by the national body of the union.
He said the strike declared on March 23, 2020 was over the Federal Government’s failure to honour the terms of an earlier February 7 2019 MOA in which it had freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement.
Esumeh alleged the union still had issues with the Federal Government’s deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university staff and the the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
He said others issues that would push to union to embark on another strike include the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of public universities, unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, continued non-payment of promotion arrears, non-payment of withheld salaries and non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.
The Zonal ASUU coordinator said on the August 2, 2021, ASUU and the Federal Government met over the issues listed above with the Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC), Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and other relevant bodies, where the government’s team assured ASUU that all outstanding issues would have been fully addressed by August 31.
He said till date, the government was yet to implement any of the agreements with ASUU.
While reacting to the question that the nation was trying to pick up from the woods following the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and that ASSU should not contemplate a strike, he said the Federal Government had the funds to pay the N40 billion revitalisation fund, meet ASUU’s needs, but that they just don’t want to pay considering the billions allegedly siphoned in the country.