The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday began a two-week strike to press the Federal Government to implement its 2019 agreement and resolution.
Also, the University of Port Harcourt branch of the union described as “all deception” the claim by the Federal Government that lecturers who refused to enroll in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System would not be paid their salaries.
The Chairman of UNIPORT ASUU, Dr. Austen Sado, warned that there would consequences should they find out that the lecturers were not paid based on the IPPIS controversy.
ASUU has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government over the introduction of the IPPIS in October last year to ensure transparency in salary payment.
But ASUU kicked against the IPPIS on the grounds that it was in gross violation of the autonomy of universities as enshrined in the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2003.
The Federal Government insisted all members of the union must be enrolled on the platform just like other government employees.
In its communiqué at the end of its two-day National Executive Council meeting at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology read by its National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, at a press conference at Dannic Hotel, Enugu, ASUU said the strike was to compel the FG to implement the outstanding agreement and resolution of it Memorandum of Action it had with the union in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019.
Ogunyemi said, “Having discussed the provisions in the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding and the 2017 Memorandum of Action, which has not been implemented, NEC resolved to embark on a two-week warning strike with effect from March 9, 2020, to compel the government to implement the agreement and resolution.”
The union said by meddling in the internal affairs of the Nigerian university system, the FG would be eroding the autonomy of the universities and making them incapable of fulfilling their mandates.
The union chief added, “The needless siege of the Nigerian university system through the imposition of policies will only compound the woes of the universities, will ultimately further drag Nigeria into a morass of chronic underdevelopment.
“The persistent poor funding characteristic of state-owned universities portends a collapse of the system. It is even more disheartening that many states that cannot adequately fund their existing universities are establishing new ones for political gains.”
Ogunyemi decried the security challenges facing the country, saying ASUU was not happy about the situation.
He said, “ASUU calls on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, overhaul the nation’s security architecture. The failure of the Federal Government to ensure the safety of citizens has led to the emergence of sporadic security outfits. This is a sign that the Federal Government has failed to protect Nigerian citizens as stipulated in the constitution.”