The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the Federal Government’s plan of using hunger as a weapon to weaken its agitation and demands will not work.
Ibadan Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Ade Adejumo, made the disclosures on Wednesday during a press conference to give an update on the strike action.
Adejumo who spoke through Prof Moyo Ajao, Chairperson, Unilorin ASUU urged well-meaning Nigerians to compel government to release the withheld salaries of its members, remit the check-off dues of the union to the rightful owner and speed up the process of testing the integrity of UTAS so that it may be deployed for payment beginning from January 2021.
Describing the ongoing disagreement on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a distraction to the demands of the Union, Adejumo noted that apart from the IPPIS being a cesspool of corruption, it is strange that the government would lump the payment of lecturers together with that of civil servants as such is not done anywhere in the world.
He said; “Government against international labour laws opted to use hunger as a weapon against us. Our members have been battered by the suspension of our salaries for several months but rather than capitulate and throw our universities to the dogs to suit the interest of the politicians, we have decided to weather the storm until the needful is done.
“Nigerians and the international community should be aware that despite the ongoing negotiations, the Government has refused to pay our salaries and allowances. It has also callously withheld the check-off dues of some of our members, who were selectively paid amputated salaries, in order to starve the union of the energy needed to sustain the negotiations.
“We can only appeal to our members to continue to persevere the same way we persevered during the inglorious days of military misrule.
“At this stage of the struggle, Nigerians are urged to compel the government to release the withheld salaries of our members, remit the check-off dues of the union to the rightful owner, pay us the same way it had paid our arbitrarily handpicked members without subjecting them to IPPIS registration and speed up the process of testing the integrity of UTAS so that it may be deployed for payment beginning from January 2021.
“Let the politicians note that the interest of Nigeria and the future generations is more paramount to ASUU than the immediate gains of its members. That is what ASUU has been consistent in challenging the rots in the system through sustained engagements with powers that be since the time of the military.
“The road may be tough, the burden is huge but ASUU remain committed in saving our public universities and not making them suffer the lot of our public schools.”
The press conference was also attended by ASUU chairpersons from the zone including Dr Femi Abanikanda (Osun State University), Dr Dauda Adeshola (Kwara State University), Prof Ayoola Akinwole (University of Ibadan), and Prof Olusiji Sowande Lagos Zonal Coordinator, ASUU.
Source – Thenation newspaper