February 22, 2024

ASUU to Tinubu: sign, implement Nimi-Briggs committee’s renegotiated 2009 agreements

Tinubu directs NYSC, law school to NOUN graduates for service

…says FG, state govts need to stop acting like slave owners

By Adeola Badru, Ibadan 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has asked the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government, to stop being insensitive and address the central demands of public university lecturers for better welfare and improved conditions of service.

According to ASUU, “the burning issues which led to the strike action of February– October, 2022 are being met with half-hearted, insincere, and incoherent attention from Federal Government of Nigeria and its agents.”

This was contained in the press conference addressed by the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of the Union, Professor Oyebamiji Oyegoke, comprising the University of Ibadan, Ibadan; University of Ilorin, Ilorin; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso; Kwara State University, Malete; and Osun State University, Osogbo.

The union drew the attention of Nigerians “to the serial insensitivity of Federal Government of Nigeria to central issues connected with the Nimi-Briggs Committee’s Renegotiated Agreement and care for the welfare of hard-working Nigerian lecturers.”

The Ibadan Zone of ASUU maintained that the federal government has not mainstreamed billions of Earned Academic Allowances owed its members while it has also not signed, let alone commenced, the implementation of the Nimi-Briggs renegotiated 2009 draft agreements.

ASUU noted that the deliberate pauperisation of the intelligentsia has elevated the brain drain syndrome, while newly appointed lecturers are resigning for greener pastures. 

According to Professor Oyegoke, “Despite the good intentions of ASUU members to make Nigerian universities globally competitive, the government has continued to unleash hardship on the lecturers as it is doing to other sectors of Nigerian state; a disposition of acting as a democratic government while pursuing IMF and World Bank anti-people policies abounds and stares us in the face every day.”

While warning that “there is a limit to which people should be pushed to the wall without resistance, ASUU, as a union of intellectuals, remained undaunted in our patriotic mission of rescuing Nigerian public universities from retrogression.”

“Instead of doing the needful by signing and implementing the Nimi-Briggs Committee’s Renegotiated Agreement, best of what FGN can offer, is the whimsical awards of 35% and 25% to professorial ranks and other levels by the National Wages, Salaries, and Income Commission by the Buhari administration; a case of fighting the effects and not the cause of a problem.”

“The consequences will be dire in the event of perpetual improvisation of Nigerian University System. Withheld Salary Still unbowed by obnoxious no-work-no-pay policy of Nigerian government, withheld seven and half months’ salary and devaluation of Nigerian currency, and the adverse economic conditions brought by subsidy removal from petroleum, our members have gone ahead to cover the lost ground (of teaching, service, and community service) occasioned by the strike action of February–October 2022.”

In federal and state universities, examples abound of unpaid salaries to our members; an example is Osun State University, which has not paid our members who participated in 2020 stike Action, an action whose proceeds the university benefited and still benefiting from.”

“Despite our commitments and dedication, the payback for our steadfastness has been the recent, amputated one, two, or three-month salaries just announced this week instead of the owed seven and a half months’ salary to our members.”

“All these come after series of unfulfilled promises were made by at very high level of governance, including that of Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It is difficult not to agree to the observations in some quarters that Government is intentionally using hunger and deprivation as other means of war against Nigerian academics.”

“In both state and federal universities, backlog of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) are owed to members of ASUU. The mainstreaming of EAA into salaries for lecturers, as affirmed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2020 between ASUU and Federal Government, and the expected tranche of allowances of 2021 have remained pipedreams.”

“As if poor recruitments of new hands into universities are not enough of problems to border with, the exertions and extra demands of teaching and training of increased populations of students yearly have culminated into lecturers in federal and state universities doing excess work beyond their limits; the consequences on the health of status of lecturers are now reflected in serious attrition rates of deaths all over our campuses.”

“Unfortunately, the negotiated payments of EAA that should have compensated for extra exertions of our members are now being owed. What the worth of outstanding EAA over many years will translate to in the current inflation rates in Nigeria remains to be seen.”

“Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS): ASUU has shown severally its condemnation and rejection of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as a payment platform for paying salaries and emoluments in Nigerian Federal Universities and has produced and demonstrated the reliability of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative payment platform.”

“It is disconcerting to note that despite the removal of universities and other tertiary institutions by the directive of Federal Executive Council meeting of December 13, 2023, the directive is yet to be obeyed.”

What we have in place of compliance with the directive is transmutation into ‘new IPPIS’. Our union strongly stands against any platform that will not only mutilate our monthly salaries, create a backlog of unpaid salaries to our members, and endanger the lives of ASUU by putting them on needless journeys to Abuja before their salaries could be paid,” the union stressed.