By Yusuf Adua
The Lagos state Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities has voiced out that the area of discord between the association and the Federal Government of Nigeria spans beyond the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The union communicated this to the general public through a statement signed by its Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande on Sunday.
The union without hesitation decried the comments made earlier by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on a political programme on Channels Television aired on Friday where the Minister announced that he would be inviting ASUU in the coming week and that the government had been holding behind-the-scene meetings where collations were being made to ensure that all pertinent data and pending issues would be brought to the place of negotiation.
To ASUU, the government and its handlers have no intention of ending the ongoing strike this year and the generality of the public should be appalled that despite the series of meetings with the union, the government now knows that it is high time they started collating pertinent data required to engage them.
The body who stated that the last time the government got through to then was on the 4th of November 2020 warned parents, students, and the general public to not be persuaded by Dr. Chris Ngige’s public statement that government cannot afford to pay the conservative N110 billion naira for the revitalization of the Nigerian public Universities.
“Only recently, the government approved N5 billion bailout fund to operators in the aviation sector to ameliorate the harsh realities of COVID-19 on their business operations. Over the years, the Nigerian government has spent over N1.5 trillion to bailout power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat despite the privatization of the power sector”, the Union unravelled substantiating their claim.
The union believed that there had been a glowing need to save the public Universities from imminent collapse, therefore, Government’s failure to faithfully release the revitalization fund over the years is a deliberate attempt to allow the public Universities fall apart.
‘Parents and Nigerian students should note that our current struggle is patriotic and our sacrifice for the survival of Nigerian public Universities is unparalleled. We have gone without salaries for 5 to 7 months, we have had to work under very harsh environment, without adequate facilities and with eve,r-increasing student population”, ASUU pointed out stressing that their new agenda of bettering Nigerian universities is the major reason government stalled negotiation with them in the last two weeks.
They did call on every Nigerian to join them in the battle for the soul of the Nigerian public Universities with the view that failure to cast out the spell would be disastrous for the coming generation.
The statement also gave tidings that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) is way better than IPPIS that the government was making them supple to and the union won’t die down until the government fully implements the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and February 2019 Memorandum of Action.
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