The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Yola branch has called on the Federal government of Nigeria (FGN) to as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency on education in the Northeast in order to revive the sector’s lost glory in the region.
The zonal coordinator, ASUU, Yola zone, Prof. Augustine A Ndaghu, who made the appeal during a press conference in Yola, Tuesday, also called on the federal government to earmark at least 26% budgetary provisions to the sector, in line with UNESCO standard.
Ndaghu said the demand became imperative in view of the setbacks which the sector suffered as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency noting that the union will also take the advocacy to the national level for more action to be dissipated.
Speaking on the current warning strike by the union, the university don said a number of factors including failure of the federal government to fulfill past agreements coupled with its insistence to implement the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Systems (IPPIS) were responsible for the warning strike.
He noted that some of the burning issues which led to the warning strike include; renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; funding for the revitalization of public universities in Nigeria; and proliferation of universities by the state governments.
Others accordingly to the ASUU zonal coordinator are; payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances and the mainstreaming of same into member’s salaries, constitution of visitation panel to federal universities, forceful imposition of IPPIS on universities and failure of the federal government to pay members’ February 2020, salaries.
“Hitherto, FGN and ASUU have signed agreements on these issues through various negotiations and memoranda. Precisely, the 2012, 2013 (MoUs), the 2017 (MoA) and 2019 (MoA) which encapsulated the fundamental arguments of the preceding three.
” Unfortunately, the none implementation of these agreements has not only spelt calamity on the education sector but also has further affected the smooth running of the university system in Nigeria.
“Consequently, these MoAs voluntarily signed by the FGN and our union have become sources of continuing agitation
and unsettled disagreement as evidenced by the two weeks warning strike.
” The strike was declared at the National Executive Council meeting of the union held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), from 7th – 9th March, 2020 after a thorough review of the extent of the FGN abandonment of signed agreements and status of our demands since the suspension of the 2019 strike action.
“The 2009 agreement between the FGN and ASUU addresses issues related to the university autonomy, funding and condition of service in Nigeria Universities as earlier enumerated.
“It is hoped the FGN will be magnanimous enough to address the issues in dispute during the two weeks warning strike, so that we can put all of those behind us for the betterment of the Nigerian university system in particular and the education sector in general.
” We reiterate that the major contentions of ASUU’s rejection of the IPPIS is the inability of the IPPIS template to capture the peculiarities of the the Nigerian university system, usurpation of university autonomy as well as erosion of the previous agreements between FGN and ASUU besides the fact that IPPIS is not backed by law.
“Currently, issues emanating from the payment of February 2020 salary via IPPIS had vindicated ASUU’s position of total rejection of the platform which generated lots of controversies and contradictions. For instance, the payment were replete with underpayments, overpayments, lack of third party deductions and outright commissions among others.
” The union also calls on the FGN to welcome ASUU’s ongoing innovative alternative to IPPIS called Universities Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) which is a robust human resources management and compensation system that is capable of addressing the peculiarities of university staff,” he said.