The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos zone, has disclosed that the federal government has no intention of ending the ongoing strike action this year.
The union stressed this in a statement by its Lagos zonal coordinator, Prof Olusiji Sowande, tackled the Ministry of Labour and Employment government led team of Dr Chris Ngige, over claims on live TV programme that he would be inviting ASUU back to the negotiation table this week as the government have been having side meetings where collations are being made to ensure that all pertinent data and pending issues were brought to the place of negotiation.
ASUU which had embarked on a nationwide strike for eight months claimed that the government has deliberately been wasting the time and resources of the union on meetings and engagements it was not prepared for, stressing that it was appalling that the government team having had series of meetings with the union, was just collating pertinent data required to engage the union.
Sowande urged the parents, students, and the general public not to be persuaded by the statement made by Ngige, rejecting the minister’s public statement that the federal government cannot afford to pay the N110 billion for revitalisation of the public universities.
He lamented that, “Only recently, the government approved a N5 billion bailout fund to operators in the Aviation sector to ameliorate the harsh realities of COVID-19 on their business operations.
“Over the years, Nigerian government has spent over N1.5 trillion to bailout power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat despite privatisation of the power sector.
“If the government could bailout private businesses for ‘Business Good’ then Nigerian public universities deserved to be bailed out for ‘Public Good’,” he added.
He reiterated that the issues in contention goes beyond the union’s rejection of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for which they have developed an alternative called University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), noting that members
of ASUU are on total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action because of failure of government to fully implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and February 2019 Memorandum of Action (MoA) which stipulated timelines for release of funds for the revitalisation of dilapidated infrastructure in public universities, payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), conclusion of renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, setting up of visitation panels to federal universities as well as underfunding and proliferation of state universities.