An indication emerged in Jos on Saturday, February 1, 2020, that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has commence the mobilization of its members across the country for a strike action.
Lazarus Maigoro, the chairman of the University of Jos chapter of ASUU, gave this indication after a special congress of the body held behind close door at ASUU secretariat in University of Jos.
“We are just coming out of a special congress which was conveyed to review the extent to which the federal government has implemented the agreement it reach with ASUU since 2009,” Maigoro said.
“After the review, we have realized that the federal government has reneged in most of the agreements, they have only implemented a part of it. Recalled that we embarked on strike in 2015 and had to suspend it later when the federal government promised to implement the agreement in full, reason we suspended the strike, but the federal government has failed to keep its promises to implement these agreements.
He said, “Some of issue not implemented in the 1999 agreements includes the issue of funding of the universities. For instance, in the agreement, there are modalities for the release of funds, there are timelines for the releases of funds to the universities, government only released N25 billion after the suspension of the strike and since then nothing has been released again.
“Then there is the issue of renegotiation of that 2009 agreement, what was signed in that agreement has to be reviewed every three years, but since it was signed in 2009, it has not been reviewed.
“Then the issue of balance of our earned allowances has not also been attended to since then.
“It is very unfortunate that government will often force ASUU to embark on strike before doing what is required of them, this one we are talking of an agreement they signed. So the next strike is not basically on IPPIS as Nigerians are already meant to belief, it is going to be on this pending breach of agreement. However, the issue of IPPIS is a new development that also affects us and we have made our position known to government.
“That if government wants to introduce IPPIS, we are not saying they should not implement it, all we are saying it they should follow the due processes and do it right. The introduction of IPPIS violates some existing laws guiding the university system. For instance, the issue of finances is incorporated in the Nigerian University commission, NUC, IPPIS violates this provision. The NUC law stipulates that as a lecturer you can go visiting in two universities, but IPPIS does not recognize that.
It is a known fact that there is no university in the world that can survive without visiting or sabbatical, these are global practices, it’s not just Nigerian universities that are practicing it, but this is a provision IPPIS is meant to abolish.
“So if you introduce a payment platform that violates all these existing laws, you will have to go back to the national assembly to have the existing law reviewed. It is the issue of law here; just get the law reviewed before you begin implementation, that has not been done in this case. The IPPIS issue came through a presidential fiat, via a mere circular from office of the accountant general of the federation. Accountant general of the federal is a mere keeper of government fund or public funds, he is not a law maker, so he does not have that right or power to give directive to Nigerians to begin to implement IPPIS.
“So if government wants the implementation of IPPIS, let them follow the due process and do the right thing”
“But rather doing the right thing, all you hear in the media has been that lecturers wants to be paid salaries in three or four universities, that is not true” he said.
On some members of ASUU that have signed the IPPIS payment platform, Maigoro said, “Yes, we are aware some few of our members have signed to take part in the IPPIS, the numbers of those members is so insignificant to affect our resolve to key into the program. For instance if you have a branch comprising about 1,800 members and 3 of them signed, do you call that one division.
There are Judases in every struggle, so we are not surprise by the action of those 3, but that is insignificant to weaken our unity as ASUU.
“So in spite of the 3 that betrayed us our members should remain resolute in this struggle. They should know that whatever they are benefiting today is the result of the struggle of past ASUU, so we should also struggle so that the system will be better for those coming after us”.