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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has provided reason for the declaration of lecture-free day in the universities across the country, just as it has hinted of a possible industrial action any moment from now due to its dispute with the federal government over unresolved issues in the education sector.
The union said that it is embarking on a lecture-free day in the universities across the country on Monday, February 7, 2022, to sensitize the university communities and the public on the failure of the government to honour an agreement the parties entered into in December 2020, and which led to the suspension of the then 9-month prolonged strike.
According to media reports, this was confirmed on Saturday by the National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who said that multiple circulars had been sent to various branches of the union announcing the decision.
Osodeke said that the national body had instructed all the chapters to sensitise the public on the nobleness of its cause.
This is coming barely a few days after the Chairman ASUU University of Jos chapter, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, had said that the members of the union would soon embark on an indefinite strike to press home its demands as it accuses government of not keeping to agreements that were reached.
However, Osodeke clarified that the union had not yet declared a strike but would be sensitising the public, which includes the media, on the state of affairs between the union and the Federal Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had less than a week ago, assured of his administration’s commitment towards fulfilling the agreement with the ASUU, pleading with the union to exercise patience and consider current economic realities.
Recall that ASUU embarked on a strike action in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which according to the Union, negates the autonomy policy for the universities, among other issues.
ASUU called off its 9-month old strike in December 2020 after the Federal Government agreed to some of its conditions which includes the deployment of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software for payment of its salaries and allowances.
However, a year after signing the MoA, ASUU accused the government of failing to fulfil its side of the bargain and threatened to mobilise for another strike immediately.
The government quickly moved to pay N55bn as part-payment for the Earned Academic Allowance and Revitalisation Fund, but the union was unmoved until the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council and other dignitaries waded in.
ASUU said the federal government has only addressed 2 out of its 8 demands, including the visitation panel to federal universities and described the release of funds for the Earned Academic Allowance and revitalisation funds as partial.
Some of the demands of ASUU include the sustainability of the university autonomy, which it said the introduction of IPPIS violates; immediate deployment of UTAS to replace IPPIS; renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement; release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities and distortions in salary payment challenges.
Others include funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowance, poor funding of state universities and promotion arrears.Follow us on social media