Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday accused the federal government of allegedly deducting check off dues on behalf of the union and refused to remit same between February and June 2020.
The union in a statement issued yesterday by the Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter of the union, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, and made available to THISDAY, alleged that there is an evil conspiracy among the ruling elites to wipe out public university education which provides education to over 90 per cent of Nigerian students in order to elevate private universities which are owned by the elites and their collaborators.
ASUU had been on strike for over six months to draw the attention of government to what it described as criminal negligence of not funding public universities in the light of rising insecurity and other mounting social problems.
According to Akinwole, “The plan by the government to use salary stoppage to punish lecturers for being concerned with the parlous state of affairs in the country’s tertiary education has failed as members are resolved to ensure that government becomes responsive and responsible.
He maintained that while the union is ready to discuss outstanding issues on the implementation of the February 2019 MOA which the federal government signed with ASUU and other conditions of service with the government, the federal government has not been forthcoming but has rather resorted to embarking on propaganda against the union.
The ASSU chief, however, hinted that the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) developed by the union to replace the government Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), “which has been orchestrated to destroy global academic culture, is fully ready,” lamenting government’s insincerity of purpose.
Akinwole also denied the claim that the union would call off its strike, as alleged by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, adding that while the lecturers are ready to work, they would not call off the strike until and unless the government fully attends to all the demands of the union, including immediate implementation.
“As of today (yesterday), October 4, 2020, ASUU members are being owed three (3) months salaries. In some universities like MOAU and UNIMAID, our members have not received salary for up to six months. “The federal government through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has criminally withheld five months (February-June 2020) Check-off dues deducted from our members’ salaries without remittance to the union.
“The government has also forcefully enlisted our members on the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme and has consistently been illegally deducting money for this scheme from our members’ salaries. Our ongoing total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action would continue if this propaganda and lies against ASUU by appointees and representatives of the federal government like the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ngige, persist,” he stated.