The National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi has said the union might resume its suspended strike in February if the Federal Government failed to implement agreements it signed with the lecturers.
Ideasgist learned that the ASUU President disclosed this on Wednesday while shedding more light on the decision of the union to suspend its nine-month strike.
Ogunyemi clearly stated that the union might have to resume the strike come February if the government reneged and refused to honour the agreements it’s signed with the lecturers in good faith.
Following the called off strike, this online news platform gathered that the Non-Academic Staff Union in universities threatened to go on strike over N40bn earned allowances the government promised to release to all unions. The union described the sharing formula for the money as unfair.
It could be recalled that ASUU had on March 23 begun a nationwide strike over the Federal Government’s insistence that all its employees must register for the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.
Although the government argued that the IPPIS was meant to eliminate fraud, the union stated that it should not be applicable to universities on the grounds that it violated their autonomy.
In the alternative, ASUU developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which it said would meet the peculiarities of universities.
Until Tuesday’s meeting between the two sides, they had disagreed over UTAS, which the government said would only be adopted if it tallied with the IPPIS.
Besides its opposition to the IPPIS, other demands of ASUU are setting up of visitation panels for universities, payment of earned academic allowances, and revitalization of infrastructure in the universities.
However, Ogunyemi on Wednesday, said if the government reneged on its promises, members of the union would not hesitate to withdraw their services.
This online news platform had earlier reported that Ogunyemi at a press conference in Abuja said the union would as from 12 am on Thursday suspend its strike.
The decision to suspend the strike, according to Ogunyemi, was unanimously reached by the National Executive Committee of the union, after considering reports from the national secretariat and various branches.
While assuring Nigerians that ASUU would fulfill its own part of the agreements it reached with the government, Ogunyemi warned that the union would not hesitate to resume its suspended strike should government fail to reciprocate the gesture.
According to him, ASUU is willing to return to classrooms and laboratories to rekindle the aspirations of its members to encourage their students to excel.
Ogunyemi further urged parents to take prime interest in their children’s welfare, learning, better funding, better laboratories, and free development to enable them to compete with their counterparts globally.
He said, “After diligent and careful appraisal of the various reports, especially the agreements reached by ASUU with the Federal Government of Nigeria on December 22, 2020, NEC resolved as follows:
“To accept the agreements reached between ASUU and the Federal Government on December 22, 2020, to consciously and diligently monitor the implementation of the FGN-ASUU agreements of December 22, 2020, in all branches.
“To ensure that no ASUU member suffers any loss of deserved benefits as a result of participation in the strike, to pursue fervently FGN-ASUU agreements in 2009 and the MoA (memoranda of agreements) 2013.”
According to him, both sides also agreed that the earned academic allowances should be backed by a law and the amendment of the Executive Bill in respect of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Act, 2004.
He added, “Finally, NEC resolved to conditionally suspend the strike action embarked upon on March 23, 2020, with effect from 12:01 am on Thursday, December 24, 2020.”
While shedding more light on ASUU’s insistence on the implementation of the 2009 agreements, Ogunyemi stated that the objectives of the agreements were found to have been made even more potent by the findings of the Federal Government Committee on the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities in 2012.
He stressed that the agreements, when implemented, would reverse the decay in the Nigerian university system and reposition it for greater responsibilities in national development;
Ogunyemi also stated that the implementation of the agreement would reverse the brain drain in universities and enhance the remuneration of academic staff.