The Akure zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Thursday, maintained that the nationwide strike embarked on by the union is not hinged mainly on the decision of the Federal Government to forcefully enroll the union in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) but failed to address the socio-economic challenges confronting the nation.
Leaders of the union in the zone who stated this during a press conference in Akure, Ondo state capital after its meeting alleged the Federal Government of insensitivity to the plight of the people of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the union, the Zonal Coordinator, Akure Zone, Comrade Olu- Olu Olufayo, listed some of the socio-economic challenges to include: national insecurity, economic retrogression, administrative recklessness in universities among others.
Olufayo said the union derived no joy in distorting the universities calendar but lamented that going on industrial action remains the only language that the FG understands, saying the ASUU in the zone aligned with the decision of ASUU to embark on two weeks warning strike to force the government to live up to its responsibilities.
“Having comprehensively reviewed the outstanding issues in the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 2017 Memorandum of Action (MOA), as well as the pussy-footing attitude of Government on the obnoxious and fraudulent IPPIS programme, which have not been addressed.
“ASUU notes with dismay that in spite of all the agreements reached at the meeting held with President Buhari on 9th January 2020, which covered six strategic areas of the Universities’ needs, only one area, the re-negotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU’S Agreement had witnessed some actions.
“ASUU, maintained that till date, the third party deductions of union’s check-off dues, cooperative contributions of members had not been released.”
The ASUU while frowning on the attitude of the Federal Government to the security of lives and property noted that the level of insecurity in the country was becoming alarming and unbearable.
Olufayo said “ASUU is of the opinion that militancy, banditry, herdsmen/ farmers clashes, and insurgency are becoming rife and overwhelming on the security apparatus of the nation. It, therefore, calls for an urgent overhauling and re-jigging of the security architecture of the country.”
On economic retrogression, he said “ASUU notes with disappointment that the present state of the nation’s economy was unimaginable. It, therefore, expresses its fears that the nation’s economy had been hijacked by the neo-liberalists.
“ASUU is of the view that this menace had snowballed into infrastructural decay, currency devaluation, hyperinflation and impoverishment of the masses. ASUU warned that if things continued in this direction, the government would be bequeathing backwardness, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and disempowerment to the citizens of Nigeria.
“ASUU, therefore, suggests that urgent economic interventions and measures should be put in place or reworked, as the case may be, to tackle corruption, which is sadly, presently on a large scale.”
Lamenting the decay in the university system which was occasioned by the administrative recklessness, abuse of power and privileges, manipulation of the extant laws and financial recklessness in the administration of some public universities by the Federal Government.
He cited the overbearing attitude of the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin, which had resulted in the postponement of the 51st convocation ceremony of the University, saying “these autocratic tendencies amounted to a great loss and wastage of financial resources of the public.
“ASUU is of the opinion that there are some Universities where the tenures of the Councils had expired and they needed to be reconstituted but, unfortunately, such was not forthcoming”
The union also called for an immediate review of the promises made by the government to address the dilapidated and deplorable infrastructures and the bad state of education in the country.
ASUU explained that students are made to learn under inhumane conditions, while all efforts of the lecturers to bring the rot to the fore was blocked by apparent government meddlesomeness in the day to day administration of the Universities.
“The attempt to erode universities’ autonomy makes them incapable of performing optimally in teaching, research, and rendering of services.
This is evident in the forceful introduction of our Universities the obnoxious Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“To this extent, the government has rejected the cost-free and effective alternative platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), being developed by ASUU.
The union which condemned any form of sexual harassment in the nation’s tertiary institutions, however, frowned at “any deliberate effort or attempt by the National Assembly to single out lecturers for sexual harassment legislation, as if such does not happen in other sections of the society.”