Pauperisation of Lecturers ‘ll Exacerbate Brain Drain in Varsities, ASUU Warns

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday warned that the deliberate pauperisation of the intelligentsia by the federal and state governments will continue to upscale the brain drain syndrome in the university system with newly appointed lecturers resigning for greener pastures.

ASUU also called on the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to stop being insensitive rather address the central demands of public university lecturers for better welfare and improved conditions of service, stating that governments must stop acting as slave owners.

Prof. Oyebamiji Oyegoke, the Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of the union comprising the University of Ibadan, Ibadan; University of Ilorin, Ilorin; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso; Kwara State University, Malete and Osun State University, Osogbo, while addressing journalists in Ibadan, yesterday said despite the good intentions of ASUU members to make Nigerian universities globally competitive, government at all levels  have continued to unleash hardship on the lecturers as it is doing to other sectors of the Nigerian state.

He maintained that acting as a democratic government while pursuing IMF and World Bank anti-people polices abound and stares Nigerians in the face everyday, stating that the burning issues which led to the strike of February to October 2022 are being met with half-hearted, insincere and incoherent attention from the federal government and its agents.

Oyegoke disclosed that the federal government has not mainstreamed billions of Earned Academic Allowances owed its members while it has also not signed let alone commenced the implementation of the Nimi-Briggs Renegotiated 2009 draft agreements.

While warning that there is a limit to which people should be pushed to the wall without resistance, he noted that ASUU as a union of intellectuals remained undaunted in its patriotic mission of rescuing Nigerian public universities from retrogression.

He said: “Still unbowed by obnoxious no-work-no pay policy of Nigerian government, withheld seven and half months’ salary and devaluation of Nigerian currency and the adverse economic conditions brought by subsidy removal from petroleum, our members have gone ahead to cover the lost grounds (of teaching and community service) occasioned by the strike of February-October 2022.

“In federal and state universities, examples abound of unpaid salaries to our members; an example is Osun State University that has not paid our members who participated in the 2020 strike, an action whose proceeds the university benefited and is still benefitting from.

“Despite our commitments and dedication the pay-back for our steadfastness has been the recent, amputated one, two, or three months salaries just announced this week instead of the owed seven and half months’ salary to our members. All these come after series of unfulfilled promises were made at very high level of governance, including that of Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“It is difficult not to agree with observations in some quarters that government is intentionally using hunger and deprivation as other means of war against Nigerian academics.

“In both state and federal universities, backlog of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) are been owed members of ASUU. The mainstreaming of EAA into salaries for lecturers as affirmed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2020 between ASUU and federal government and the expected tranche of allowances of 2021 have remained pipedreams.

“As if poor recruitments of new hands into universities are not enough of problems to border with, the exertions and extra demands of teaching and training of increased populations of students yearly have culminated into lecturers in federal and state universities doing excess works beyond their limits; the consequences on the health status of lecturers are now reflected in serious attrition rates of deaths all over our campuses.

“Unfortunately, the negotiated payments of EAA that should have compensated for extra exertions of our members are now being owed. What the worth of outstanding EAA of many years will translate to in the current inflation rates in Nigeria remains to be seen.

“ASUU has shown severally its condemnation and rejection of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as a payment platform for paying salaries and emoluments in Nigerian Federal Universities and has produced and demonstrated the reliability of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative payment platform.

“It is disconcerting to note that despite the removal of universities and other tertiary institutions by the directive of Federal Executive Council meeting of December 13, 2023, the directive is yet to be obeyed. What we have in place of compliance with the directive is transmutation into ‘new IPPIS’.

“Our union strongly stands against any platform that will not only mutilate our monthly salaries, create a backlog of unpaid salaries to our members, and endanger the lives of ASUU by putting them on needless journeys to Abuja before their salaries could be paid.”

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