Whether lecturers in the nation’s universities are going to embark on Industrial action or not over their demands from the government will be decided this weekend during a National Executive Council meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, slated for the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka, Lagos.
Revealing this on Tuesday afternoon after a congress of the Lagos Zone of the union, the Zonal Chairman, Dr. Adelaja Odukoya, said the weekend meeting would collate responses of branches and zonal offices as to what the next line of action of the union should be to the demands it wants the government to meet.
This is just as the union said it has been vindicated in its opposition to the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, as the recent report by the Auditor General of the Federation indicted some officials for allegedly perpetrating fraud using the IPPIS.
It, therefore, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to quickly swing into action and arrest those officials in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation where IPPIS is domiciled.
“We never knew we would need to call you this soon or even call you at all about this issue. It is because the government is a saboteur and it is important to sensitise the public about what is going on. As we speak, the government is only making promises and has not shown any sign that it will do the needful.
‘We are calling for the signing and implementation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement. The agreement calls for a review every three years. We went on strike for nine months in 2020 and called off the strike in December that year and the government promised to resolve all issues within six months, but now 18 months after, nothing has been done.
“It is sad and shameful that the government has constituted itself to the major saboteur as it concerns the welfare of Nigerian academics. If we want our universities to be globally competitive, we must pay lecturers globally competitive wages and provide facilities that are of global standard,” he said.
The union also took a swipe at the manner state governments have taken the establishment of universities to be constituency projects without adequate funding and preparations.
“The issue of irregular or non-payment of salaries and subventions in state universities are of great concern to our union. The most worrisome aspect is that while Visitors to state universities have deliberately refused to fund existing universities, they keep on establishing new ones,” the ASUU boss said.
On the use of IPPIS, the union reiterated its call that it should be replaced with the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS, saying the latter would take into account the peculiar nature of the university system.
Odukoya wondered why Present Muhammadu Buhari would not meet the leadership of the union and hear firsthand information from them but would rely on aides who had the mindset of tilting reports to suit their personal interests.