The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again maintained that the reason why the union declared an industrial action was not because of issues surrounding the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as widely speculated.
Chairman of ASUU in the University of Port Harcourt, Dr Austen Sado made this clarification while responding to questions on a live radio program.
“We did not go on strike because of IPPIS. IPPIS was a distraction introduced by the Government, which was blackmail too. During the currency of the strike, Government realising that they had lost the confidence of the people, brought the blackmail that they want to pay ASUU on IPPIS, but ASUU doesn’t want. They made IPPIS the issue, and we have said it repeatedly that IPPIS was never an issue,” he said.
Explaining the reason for the strike action, Dr Sado said: “We went on strike because Government signed Memorandum of Action with us in 2017, to revitalise Nigerian universities with at least 220 billion Naira every year for Public Universities, signed that Memorandum of Understanding and signed to renegotiate the 2009 agreement, signed an undertaking to also pay academics their old earned allowances amongst others like setting up visitation panels to the Universities. These were the issues that led to the strike.”
Reacting to comments credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige where he said the Government had a gentleman agreement with the striking lecturers, Sado faulted that claim, saying that Government only made an offer, but that there was no agreement.
“There was no agreement. [The] government made an offer and promised in that offer that they were going to clear the salaries latest by 9th of December, it didn’t happen. They claimed they were going to release earned academic allowances, it didn’t happen. They promised they were going to release part of the revitalization, it didn’t happen.”
“Even in the case of inaugurating visitation panels to Universities, they even defaulted on that date. It was only on the 4th of December that they finally inaugurated the panels. So in everything, they didn’t keep it. The gentleman agreement he is talking about has never been gently implemented by Government,” he added.
On the issue of ending the prolonged industrial action embarked upon by lecturers, which has lasted for nine months now, Sado said it is the hands of the government to end it.
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