Lecturers in Nigerian universities are to commence a four-week strike starting today, their union has said.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) announced this as part of its resolutions at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos Monday morning.
“… NEC resolved to embark on a four-week roll-over total and comprehensive strike action beginning from Monday 14th February 2022,” the communique stated.
The union gave various reasons for embarking on the strike.
Grounds for strike
Addressing the media at Tayo Aderinokun auditorium at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, the union’s president, Emmanuel Osodeke, a professor, listed, as reasons for the strike, the government’s failure to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed between the union and the government; the government’s poor commitment to the payment of academic earned allowance (EAA); the continued use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and refusal to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), and proliferation of the universities in the country.
ASUU also accused the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) of encroaching on the statutory roles of the senates of universities over the admission of candidates by the institutions. The union also frowned at the recent appointment of Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ibrahim, as a professor at a federal university (FUTO) and threatened to sanction all those it said took part in the processes leading to what it described as the illegal appointment.
Speaking on IPPIS, the union in its communique, said; “The imposition of this grotesque platform challenged our union to develop an alternative system to IPPIS – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS). This locally developed and cost-effective alternative payment platform has the distinct capacity to check corruption and preserve the hard-earned autonomy of Nigerian universities for the good of the country. Regrettably, FGN is still foot-dragging over its adoption, contrary to an earlier agreement with our union, thereby allowing the financial chaos heralded by IPPIS to continue.”
ASUU said; “Compatriots of the press, the Federal Government promised to mainstream the EAA into the annual federal budget in the various memoranda signed with ASUU and the Government recently released N221 billion for payment of some EAA allowances. However, many years of unpaid entitlements are outstanding, serving as triggers for industrial crisis in our universities.”
On visitation panel
The union condemned what it termed the continued delay in the release of the white papers on the reports of the visitation panels to the universities. The panels were set up by the government.
“Sending Visitation Panels to universities on a periodic (5-yearly) basis is a critical evaluation requirement stipulated in our university laws. Our Union had to embark on an action for the FGN to institute such panels. However, many months after the panels submitted their reports, the White Papers are yet to be released. We call for the immediate release of the White Papers to address numerous lapses in the administration of Nigeria’s federal universities,” ASUU said.
Appeal for support
Meanwhile, the union pleaded with Nigerians for understanding, saying the declaration of the strike became very important to preserve the sanctity of the Nigerian university system.
“Comrades and compatriots, it was a painful decision for NEC to arrive at the roll-over strike option. Contrary to the views canvassed in some quarters, our union loathes to disrupt academic activities on our campuses. We love our students and respect their parents and guardians. We are also not insensitive to the genuine concerns about stable academic calendars in public universities expressed by patriotic Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria. But the blame should be squarely put at the doorsteps of those who have ignored our patriotic yearnings for a development-oriented education in Nigeria.
“The patience of our members has been tasked beyond tolerable limits. The greatest asset of any nation is its human capital. Any nation that pays lip service to education as we currently witness in Nigeria will only grow in age and never experience genuine development. We therefore seek the understanding and support of all stakeholders to make the Nigerian government more responsive to issues of human capital development including health and education,” the union said.
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