By Ikechukwu Odu – Nsukka
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN branch, on Thursday, claimed the Federal Government rejected the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, proposed by the national union (ASUU) because it was developed by Nigerians.
The union also accused the Federal GovernmentFG of a deliberate attempt to kill the future of Nigerian students so as to perpetuate themselves and their children in leadership positions.
ASUU also said that the way Federal Government shy away from the agreements it reached with the Union, indicates that it wants to enthrone a system where the poor would never have access to tertiary education in the country.
In a press statement which emanated from a congress of the Union in UNN and signed by the chairman, Comrade Christian Opata, and the Secretary, Comrade Michael Nwokedi, ASUU wondered why it would take a series of protests and the interventions of prominent Nigerians before the Federal Government could sign and honour part of the agreement it reached with the Union.
Part of the statement also reads “That since December 23, 2020, Memorandum of Action, MoA, was signed to suspend the nine months strike embarked by our union in 2020, FG is yet to implement the MoA fully.
“That the FG appears to be more at home with killing indigenous knowledge and discouraging local content in its pursuit of development.
“If not, why have they failed to adopt the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, which the union developed as a viable alternative to IPPIS- a very corrupt payment platform.
“The FG subjected UTAS to series of integrity test, yet no such test was conducted on IPPIS. The results of the test on UTAS indicate that Nigerians can solve their problem.
“However, government is not comfortable with that because it was developed by Nigerians. What a shame!
“The 2009 Agreement is still a subject of controversy. To renegotiate it has been a problem. This is when it was supposed to be reviewed every three years.
“Consequent on the associated delays in the renegotiation, many Nigerian academics left the country and are making waves outside, contributing to the economy of other nations rather than ours.
“For a government that has consistently failed to prioritize education to establish universities indiscriminately is laughable and pitiable. Our universities are now glorified secondary schools. It may interest you to know that some state universities in Nigeria owe their staff close to four months arrears of salary. Why establish more when the ones in existence are not properly funded?
“Since 2009 till date, Nigerian lecturers’ salary has remained the same and the lowest throughout Africa. War-torn Burundi pays better than Nigeria. Where then is the ‘greed’ of Nigerian lecturers as espoused by governments and its lackeys?
“We plead with Nigerians to plead with the FG not to push us into going back to the trenches. Our children have suffered enough. For us in UNN, we are ready and fully mobilized should government decide not to put its ears to the ground to hear the ballad of the ‘ants,” the Union said.