June 21, 2024

Save Nigeria’s public universities from total collapse, ASUU begs Tinubu 


…says another strike should be averted

By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sign and implement the renegotiated 2009 ASUU – FGN agreement in line with the Collective Bargaining principles as enshrined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention.

ASUU said that should the  President heed to the appeal and actil accordingly, it would save the nation’s public universities from total collapse.

The Union added that it would also ensure that the lectures were not goaded into another round of avoidable strike by their conditions of service.

The Coordinator of the Lagos zone of ASUU, Prof. Adelaja Odukoya made the appeal on Friday while addressing the press at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Ago Iwoye, Ogun State.

In attendance at the conference were the 7 branch Chairmen – Prof. Kayode Adebayo (University of Lagos), Dr. Isaac Oyewunmi(Lagos State University, Ojo), Dr. Akolade Lapite (Lagos State University of Education), Dr. Tayo Okulaja(Lagos State University of Technology), Dr. Gbenga Akinleye(Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Dr. Wale Ositoye(Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun) and Dr. Wasiu Olooto (OOU).

Also in attendance were the immediate past branch chairmen of the ASUU – Dr. Joel Okewale (OOU), Dr. Dele Ashiru(UNILAG) and Dr. Olusiji Sowande, former zonal coordinator.

Prof. Odukoya said the Union was seeking an interface with the President on how to resolve all issues plaguing the public universities in Nigeria.

He noted that by not signing and implementing the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN since 2021 after it was concluded and which both Government and ASUU committed massive resources to at the time, the government had tasked the ASUU’s patience beyond bearable limit.

He urged the Tinubu-led federal government to without further delay, set in motion machineries for the quick signing and implementation of the agreement to avoid another round of industrial crises in the nation’s public universities.

He identified other issues requiring urgent attention of the Tinubu’s administration as poor funding and proliferation of state and federal universities, non-release of monthly subventions, irregular payment of staff salaries, decayed and dilapidated infrastructures, non-payment/release of check-off and other third party deductions etc.

The Lagos zone coordinator lamented that visitors of federal and state universities have turned establishment of universities to constituency projects

He said, “for the umpteenth time, our Union again call the attention of the public to the insincere proliferation and mushrooming of universities by both Federal Government and Visitors to State Universities. The most disturbing aspect of this anomaly is that while most Governments, at Federal and State levels have not been adequately funding existing universities (inadequate subventions; non-release of monthly subventions; irregular payment of staff salaries, decayed and dilapidated infrastructures, non-payment/release of check-off and other third party deductions etc.), Visitors of Federal and State universities have turned establishment of universities to constituency projects. 

“This development is obviously harmful, retrogressive and unacceptable. Our union hereby calls for the review and strengthening of the NUC laws to arrest the negative trends.C. Non-payment of Withheld Salaries and Arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) Comrades and compatriots of the press, it is no longer news that the Federal Government is still holding on to three and half months’ salaries of our members in the face of the government intransigence which necessitated the last strike action on the one hand and the current excruciating economic challenges confronting the nation on the other.”

 “In addition, the arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) since 2020 still outstanding. Our Union unequivocally condemn this callous, unprogressive, destructive, anti-labour and inhuman act and demand the unconditional payment of all withheld salaries and arrears of EAA of our members.D. Injurious Downside of the Discredited Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS)Our Union’s unequivocally rejection of the IPPIS as a monster and an ill-wind that would blow the Nigerian university system no good has become part of our history. Our stance and foresight had since been vindicated.

” We still insist that IPPIS is a cesspit of centralised corruption by government officials forcefully imposed and foisted on the Nigerian State by Breton Woods institutions of IMF and World Bank. Even with Government pronouncement on the exit of the universities from IPPIS, the deliberate refusal of corrupt Government and Ministry officials to migrate the University Payroll System away from IPPIS is unfortunate and condemnable.”