In a significant move that could potentially disrupt Nigeria’s education landscape, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has delivered a renewed ultimatum to President Bola Tinubu. The demand, which revolves around the release of eight months’ withheld salaries for lecturers, comes as a direct response to the “2022 Patriotic Strike Action.” This strike was initiated due to the government’s alleged failure to uphold prior agreements made with ASUU.
The urgency of ASUU’s stance was highlighted during the union’s recent National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. Among the core issues discussed were the prolonged salary withholding and the integrity of the nation’s university system.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, emphasized the union’s discontent with the dissolution of governing councils of federal universities by the President. This act, according to ASUU, contravenes established laws and regulations that govern university operations.
ASUU’s historical perspective sheds light on the correlation between past strike actions and governmental failure to honor agreements aligned with International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles. The union argues that these agreements are instrumental in maintaining a stable academic environment.
The statement also acknowledged ongoing efforts to secure the release of the withheld salaries, urging collaboration between ASUU, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and other concerned parties.
Addressing the backlog of promotion arrears was another crucial aspect of ASUU’s statement. This issue stems from the integration of academics into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) platform. Despite previous efforts by both ASUU and university administrations, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has yet to resolve the matter satisfactorily. ASUU’s demand for immediate action on this matter emphasizes its role in maintaining industrial harmony within the education sector.
Additionally, ASUU firmly rejected appointments sponsored by IPPIS and its agents in Nigerian public universities, underlining its commitment to upholding transparency and legitimate practices within academia.
As the situation unfolds, the education sector’s stability remains uncertain. The clear message from ASUU, coupled with the looming possibility of a strike resurgence, underscores the urgency for President Tinubu and involved stakeholders to prioritize a resolution. Failure to address these concerns in a timely manner could lead to disruptive consequences for both the academic community and the nation at large.
Source: The Guardian
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