The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter, yesterday appealed to the federal government to honour the 2017 and 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with them, noting that the continued delay in fulfilling the terms may lead to union embarking on an industrial action.

Some of the terms in the MoA included funding and revitalisation of public universities, Earned Academic Allowances ( EAA), states universities, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), IPPIS, as well as the promotion arrears and renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-federal government agreement. These led the union to embark on a nine months strike to force the government to comprehensively implement the 2009 agreement.

The Zonal Coordinator of the union, Dr. Adelaja Odukoya, who briefed journalists in Lagos yesterady, regretted that the union is being pushed to the wall, saying its past struggles to salvage the country’s public universities have equipped them to know that the government is unconcerned about its plight.

According to him, “The continued delay in fulfilling the terms of our MoA is tantamount to toying with the education and future of the youths of this country, as well as the country’s development.

As a patriotic union, if this government continues on this retrogressive path of indifference, contemptuous attitude and failure to honour its obligations to our union as contained in our MoA, our union would be left with no other option than to resuscitate our struggle to get the government to live up to its responsibilities.”

The lecturer in the department of Political Science, University of Lagos, observed that the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-federal government agreement, which was due since 2012, has been the longest and most protected, adding that this exemplifies the insincerity of the government about the welfare of academics and the development of the Nigerian university system, as well as national development.

Odukoya said: “The government’s failure to ensure prompt renegotiation of the 2009 agreement has consciously sentenced our members to agonising poverty, encouraged brain-drain and criminally promoted falling standard of education in the country.”

He expressed concern about the poor remuneration of lecturers, saying despite the rising cost of living, untoward economic hardship and devaluation of the naira, its members are yet to witness an increase in their salaries since 2009.

“In 2009, the naira exchanged to a dollar was N149.88k. Sadly today, the naira exchange stands at N546 to $1, yet the best brains in the country still earn the same salary they earned in 2009-how criminally wicked is that! Yet after a nine-month strike which culminated in the signing of an MoA, as well as months after the conclusion of renegotiation between our union and the government, the government has failed to do the needful by signing the agreement and rescue our university lecturers from a slow death and our public universities from unwarranted Golgotha,” he said.

Odukoya also emphasised on the IPPIS and UTAS, saying despite passing all tests and challenges, the government has refused and failed to deploy UTAS, and IPPIS has continued to be used for the payment of their salaries despite its systemic failure.

Meanwhile, the Bauchi State zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared that 95 lecturers from the University of Jos; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, and Federal University, Kashere, are being owed salary arrears of from two to 13 months.

The union stated that what the federal government was doing was a “deliberate stealing of our members’ salaries.”

The ASUU Bauchi zone made the declaration while addressing journalists shortly after its meeting at the ATBU ASUU secretariat yesterday.

The Zonal Coordinator, Prof Lawal Garba Abubakar, said ASUU was holding the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, responsible for the lingering crisis in ASUU because, according to him, Ngige has refused to act to end the crisis due to his personal reasons.”

He also said the minister has, however, given a marching order to IPPIS officials to resolve all the issues or prepare a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), but with their manner, they have kept embarrassing the government.

According to the zonal coordinator, the inconsistencies observed in the application of the IPPIS in the payments of salaries and remittances of third-party deductions have continued in all the federal universities.

He said: “Since the introduction of IPPIS in February 2020, our members have continued to be omitted from the payments of salary on a monthly basis. This is the situation across all the federal universities in the country.

“Every month, when salary is paid, a different set of staff will have their names omitted from the payment for that particular month. As we speak, about 95 lecturers from the University of Jos are being owed salary arrears of 2 to 13 months; the same situations in ATBU, Bauchi, and Federal University of Kashere.”

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