The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has revealed that the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-Federal Government agreement which has been a major bone of contention in its dispute with the government is progressing smoothly and has reached an advanced stage.
The lecturers union said that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which the government has refused to accept, has been tested for the third time by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and would start testing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by next week.
This disclosure is part of the statement issued by the ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, and can be seen on the union’s website.
The statement partly reads, ‘’The renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement is progressing smoothly and has reached an advanced stage.
“However, we must remain focused to the end of this struggle. UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution) has been tested for the third time. So far, NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency) has tested UTAS and UPS and will start testing IPPIS next week.
‘’We are undeterred by the antics of some government officials in this respect.
“We are on the threshold of victory. Let us keep faith with the union. A people united can never be defeated.”
ASUU Strike Update: FG Team Fails To Meet Deadline To Resolve Issue
Prof. Nimi Briggs-led committee set up the Federal Government to renegotiate the 2009 Agreement signed by the government with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and put an end to the ongoing industrial action by the union has failed to meet the three-month time frame given it by the FG to conclude its assignment.
The committee, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on March 7 this year, was given three months to conclude its assignment.
It was gathered that Adamu gave the committee the go-ahead to continue its negotiation with the union since there seemed to be some progress even though nothing concrete was agreed to within the time limit
Therefore, the committee is expected to continue the negotiation with the union later this week after the public holiday.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) is currently undergoing another round of tests by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, said UTAS passed over 90 per cent in the first and second tests carried out on it, but that NITDA concluded that the payment platform failed some tests.
“On UTAS, we are going for a third test. Like I told you, the second one, we scored 99 per cent. The test is ongoing,” he said.
Mr Osodeke, who spoke on Human Rights Radio in Abuja on Saturday, also touched on several issues surrounding the ongoing strike and why the strike has lingered.
“A vice chancellor cannot employ a professor without getting permission from the head of civil service, which is against all the rules in the world. Who is a head of civil service compared to a vice-chancellor,” he said.
“You employ a professor and federal character commission will run after you saying you did not follow federal character principle. In which country do you use federal character to employ a professor. You employ a professor by merit.”
ASUU strike: Union says discussions with FG’s Briggs committee has been “progressive”
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), announced that present negotiations with the recently constituted committee chaired by Prof. Nimi Briggs has been progressive.
The Union disclosed this in a statement on Friday after its visitation panels submitted reports.
It revealed that negotiations with the committee commenced last week over its demands.
In its statement, ASUU said it met today as its visitation panels submitted reports.
It tweeted, “The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday expressed optimism about its ongoing meeting with the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee, describing the negotiation as being progressive.”
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, National President of the Union added said the union had been negotiating with the Briggs committee since last week over its demands.
Ahmed Isah set to raise N18 billion to end ASUU strike
An anchor and owner of the popular Human Rights Radio in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ahmed Isah, has announced that he is crowdfunding for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to class.
ASUU and other university workers’ unions have been on strike for almost four months. The unions’ demands, among other things, include better funding for the nation’s public tertiary institutions and improved welfare for their members.
While the government released 34 billion naira for the payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, ASUU has maintained that until its core demands are met, it will not suspend the strike.
In a live broadcast on Thursday, Mr Isah, who is the anchor of the Brekete Family programme on the radio station, said he is willing to volunteer to mediate between ASUU and the government.
He also promised to donate N10 million naira to the cause and called on Nigerians to donate into a designated bank account posted on the Brekete Family social media pages and his personal twitter handle.
Mr Isah also announced the donation of N1 million naira by Segun Ogunyanwo, a deputy registrar at the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC).
“Let us challenge ourselves as Nigerians. This is an opportunity for us to test ourselves to know how united we are. Come 2023, this ASUU intervention will give me a sign that, as masses, we are ready to turn things around,” he said on Thursday.
“Your one naira, N1,000 naira, N5000, N10,000 is not too small. No matter how poor you think you are, make sure you contribute something, even if it is one naira.”
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, and Ben Goong, the director of press at the federal ministry of education, couldn’t be reached for comments. Also, text messages sent to them had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.
Universities and the federal government have been urged to rally around and close ranks so that Nigerian students will leave the streets and go back to classes.
The Senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly, Orji Uzor Kalu, made this plea on Tuesday in a statement on his Facebook page.
He expressed his sympathy for Nigerian students “who against their will are out of school due to the ongoing ASUU strike”.
He said, “I call on the universities and federal government to rally round and close ranks so that our students will leave the streets and go back to classes.
“I sympathise with the students who against their will are out of school due to the ongoing ASUU strike”.
The Senate Chief Whip remembered the past, stating, “while I was the Governor of Abia state (199-2007), primary to university education (in the state) was made free and affordable.
“My government invested a lot in education to encourage people to go to school.
“The states and federal government are supposed to pay strict attention to education. It is irresponsible for any government to deny attention to education sector.”
He added, “Incessant strikes lead to delays in students’ graduation and slows down their life plans and life pursuits”.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions have said the Prof Nimi Briggs Committee is in negotiation with the unions.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, the ASUU’s National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union had been negotiating with the Briggs Committee since last week over its demands.
ASUU commenced its ongoing strike on February 14, 2022 after the Federal Government failed to meet some of its demands namely; the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution payment platform.
IDOMA VOICE recalls that on March 7, 2022, the Federal Government inaugurated a seven-man committee chaired by the Pro-Chancellor of Alex Ekweme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Prof Nimi Briggs.
The committee, which is expected to review the proposed FGN/ASUU Agreement, has its terms of reference, some of which include; to liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the FG to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU renegotiated agreement; renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 agreements with other university-based unions; and negotiate and recommend any other issue the committee deems relevant to reposition the National Universities Commission for global competitiveness.
Osodeke said, “We are discussing with the Federal Government through the renegotiation team and we started last week.
“The negotiation is between ASUU and the Briggs Committee and agreement should be negotiated quietly. When we reach an agreement, we will come to the press. We hope this approach/ negotiation will solve the problem so that by next week, we will brief Nigerians. Give us a little time.”
When asked if ASUU would call off the strike soon, Osodeke said, “We don’t know until we finish the negotiation.”
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic(ASUP) has directed its members to resume work on Monday May 30, 2022 following the expiration of its two- week strike.
The union said it took the decision following some progress made with the Federal Government regarding its demands.
ASUP, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Abdullahi Yalwa disclosed that the government had met four of its demands.
It said the decision to resume work was to give the federal government more time to meet the remaining five demands.
The statement reads: “The two weeks definite strike of the union will be rounding off on the 29th of May, 2022 as agreed by the emergency meeting of NEC.
“Consequently, the union is requesting
members to resume duties effective 30th of May, 2022 while hoping that government will take advantage of the window to address the five outstanding items.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said that despite the non-payment of salaries to its members, the union remains undaunted in its struggle for a better university system.
Speaking to our correspondent on Friday, the Chairman of the union’s branch at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, confirmed to The PUNCH that the Federal Government stopped paying the salaries of striking lecturers since March 2022.
Dr. Egbedokun said, “The last time they paid us was February. Since March, they stopped paying the salaries.”
Another lecturer at the institution also confirmed the non-payment of the salaries.
Speaking further, Dr. Egbedokun said, “We’re used to it. The non-payment of salaries cannot break us.”
When asked about the next move of the union over the ongoing strike and the minimum wage arrears reportedly paid to the lecturers, the Chairman said that the wage arrears were statutory by the law and had nothing to do with their current agitations, saying, “If you observe, ASUU has not said anything about it, we decided not to, it is not the crux of our agitation.”
“What we’re expecting the government to do now is to come forward with a proposal, in response to the submitted renegotiated document, which has been with the government since May 2021. This time, we’re not signing or interested in any Memorandum or Agreement again. Let them come forward with a proposal in response to the renegotiated document, and let’s see how we can consider it.”
Strike: ASUU Reveals Next Line Of Action, Sympathizes With Students
ASUU in its demands has called for the renegotiation of the ASUU/FG 2009 agreement and the sustainability of the university autonomy by deploying UTAS to replace the government’s “imposed” (IPPIS).
Also in its demands is the release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities, distortions in salary payment challenges, funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowance, poor funding of state universities and promotion arrears.
Osodeke on Thursday said there won’t be a need to call off the strike despite the federal releasing N34 billion for the payment of consequential adjustment for a minimum wage of workers in the education system.
He further stated that the N34 billion released was not part of their demands.
Osodeke also sympathised with university students over the prolonged strike by the union.
According to Osodeke, the students are suffering for Nigeria’s future and education system.
The ASUU president said the students were not being punished but paying the price to ensure that Nigeria had a good education
ASUU: FG Agrees To Pay N34bn Minimum Wage Arrears
The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector, NAN reports.
Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.
The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.
He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.
“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.
NANS South West Zone Coordinator, Mr Adegboye Olatunji, made this known in Abuja on Monday, at a protest to the All Progressive Congress (APC) Secretariat in solidarity with Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun to run for a second term.
Olatunji said that it was time both parties came together to resolve the issues leading to the strike as students were at the receiving end.
“We are planning to block government organisations that generate money for them if the ASUU issue is not resolved.
“We have been protesting on this issue by occupying major roads in the South West but we believe if we ground airports, the government will do something about the strike,” he said.
Olantunji said that the student body had dissociated itself from Abiodun’s prosecution and disqualification from contesting the 2023 elections.
He said Abiodun’s education policy remained enviable in the South West region because he’s coming on board had helped in the resuscitation of some tertiary institutions in the state.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has insisted that its members won’t resume work despite the Federal Government’s payment of minimum wage arrears.
This [was contained in a circular by the University of Lagos branch of the union titled, ‘Payment of minimum wage arrears’.
The chairman of UNILAG ASUU, Dele Ashiru, confirmed the authenticity of the circular on Saturday.
Ashiru described the arrears payment as “long-overdue”, saying that the core demands of ASUU have not been met.
The circular read, “The leadership of our Branch has been inundated with calls concerning the recent payment of the long-overdue arrears of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage.
“Our members are reminded that this is not one of the core demands upon which the ongoing strike action is premised.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the demands of our Union are the conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, abrogation of the fraudulent and corrupt IPPIS scheme and the deployment of UTAS, payment of promotion arrears, the proliferation of State Universities and governance issues amongst others.