The Academic Staff Union of Univers i t ies (ASUU) yesterday said it was tired of being dribbled by the Federal Government’s consistent failure to honour agreements reached with the union, asking it to speed up the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) integrity testing. Making this disclosure yesterday was the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of the union, Prof. Ade Adejumo, during a press conference to give an update on the strike action.
In attendance at the press conference held in Ibadan were ASUU Chairpersons from the zone including; Dr Femi Abanikanda (Osun State University), Dr Dauda Adeshola (Kwara State University), Prof. Ayoola Akinwole (University of Ibadan) and Prof. Olusiji Sowande Lagos Zonal Coordinator of ASUU.
The union said the plan by the Federal Government to use hunger as a weapon to weaken them in their agitation and demands by withholding their salaries would not work, adding that Nigerian university lecturers earned the least salaries when compared with “chief lecturers in some tertiary institutions, who are not required to supervise post-graduate students or conduct research, but earned more than professors in our lopsided educational system. Adejumo, who spoke through Prof Moyo Ajao, chairperson, UNILORIN ASUU, urged well-meaning Nigerians to compel the Federal Government to release the withheld salaries of its members, remit the check-off dues of the union to the rightful owner and speed up the process of testing the integrity of UTAS so that it may be deployed for payment beginning from January 2021.
Describing the ongoing disagreement on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a distraction to the demands of the union, Adejumo said apart from IPPIS being a cesspool of corruption, “it is strange that the government would lump the payment of lecturers together with that of the civil servants as such is not done anywhere in the world”. He stressed that: “Government, against international labour laws, opted to use hunger as a weapon against us. Our members have been battered by the suspension of our salaries for several months, but rather than capitulate and throw our universities to the dogs to suit the interest of politicians, we have decided to weather the storm until the needful is done.
“Just as our able President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said recently, the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is a distraction to the union. Apart from IPPIS being a cesspool of corruption as many Nigerians who are at its receiving end have attested to, there is no serious- minded country in the world where university lecturers and intellectual assets of the country are lumped together in payment with the civil service. “Nigerians and the international community should be aware that despite the ongoing negotiations, the government has refused to pay our salaries and allowances.
It has also callously withheld the check-off dues of some of our members, who were selectively paid amputated salaries, in order to starve the union of the energy needed to sustain the negotiations.