By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
The Benin Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday expressed doubt over the capability and commitment of Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to midwife any peaceful resolution of the issues that led to the ongoing strike in the country’s public universities.
The Benin Zone of the Union hinged its doubt on Dr. Ngige’s approach in the handling of the ongoing strike, which it said may probably not midwife an e resolution of the crisis in the country’s public universities.
The Zone is made up of University of Benin(UNIBEN), Benin City, Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Adekunle Ajasin University,(AAUA) Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Olusegu Agagu University of Science and Technology,(OAUSTEC) Okitikpukpa, Ondo State, Delta State University, Abraka and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Efurun, Delta State.
In a release issued in Benin City yesterday and signed by the Union’s Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Fred Esumeh, ASUU observed that since the development of UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution)which ASUU is recommending as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which the federal government what them to adopt, the ministerhas been making remarks characteristic of a “spoiler, confusionist and anti-ASUU, rather than a conciliator.”
Esumeh said that by the provisions of the Law, Ngige, as the Minister of Labour and Employment is saddled with the conciliatory role during industrial disharmony, “to calm an already tensed situation and bring about a peaceful resolution, but he has chosen to be the mouthpiece of other Unions that were not part of the 2019 MoA (Memorandum of Agreement)”.
He accused the government of introducing IPPIS to divert the public attention to the lack of sincerity, and will to faithfully implement agreement reached with ASUU, insisting on the Union’s rejection of IPPIS, given its violation of the University Autonomy Act and its inadequacies to carter for the peculiarities in the university system.
The Union accused the government through the Minister of Finance, her Labour and Employment counterpart as well as the Accountant General of the Federation of “deploying the weapon of hunger to compel and coarse ASUU members to enroll on the IPPIS platform. This move of government smacks of impunity and it is undemocratic in a democratic setting.”