By Uche Amunike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said Thursday, that only two, out of its eight demands have been met so far, by the Federal government in the past nine months.
This was made known in a statement after the Ibadan Zone of the union held its meeting at the Ladoke Akintola University, LAUTECH, Ogbomosho and chaired by its coordinator in LAUTECH, Prof Oyebamiji Oyegoke.
Also in attendance, were the chairpersons from the University of Ibadan, Prof Ayo Akinwale; UNILORIN, Prof Moyosore Ajao; LAUTECH, Dr Biodun Olaniran and KWASU, Dr Shehu Salau.
In the statement, Oyegoke said that the strike was a ticking bomb that might engulf the education sector in another crisis.
He added that the only issues that have been addressed so far are the setting up of visitation panels to the Federal government owned universities and salary short falls.
The other demands like injection of revitalization funds, renegotiation of conditions of service, payment of earned academic allowances, implementation of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, are yet to be addressed.
He also stated that the release of withheld salaries, non-remittance of check-off dues of unions, and proliferation of state universities which were all contained in the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action, MoA, are yet to be addressed.
He went on to say that the claim by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige that the money allocated for the revitalization of public universities have been paid, as contained in a Memorandum of Action of 2020 cannot be true.
The same Labour Minister confirmed on August 2, 2021 that the funds are still in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and just awaiting application by the Education Minister for eventual transfer of the NEEDS Assessment Fund Account, saying that the government is working on its oars to speed up the release of funds by the CBN since January 2021 leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
On IPPIS Versus UTAS, he explained that withholding salaries for months, not releasing the EAA and non-payment of check-off dues accruing to the Union despite what was demonstrated by ASUU, would only lead to another possible cycle of industrial crisis.
He lauded the manner in which the UTAS suitably was shown to the team of the Education Minister, the Senate President and other stakeholders like the Ministries of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Office of the Accountant General and representatives of Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.
Oyegoke added that all contentious issues affecting the remaining matters concerning the implementation of 2020 FGN/ASUU MoA were discussed at the reconciliation meeting held between the Federal government and ASUU leadership at the conference room of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Ngige who promised that a wider government team and inter-ministerial committee on the renegotiated 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement will be concluded and submitted by end of August 2021 when the Federal government will resolve all outstanding issues, but sadly nothing has been done by the government so far.