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ASUU Accuses FG Of Delaying Implementation Of Renegotiation Agreement

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, has accused the Federal Government of delaying the signing and implementation of the 2009 renegotiated agreement.

The union also alleged that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is being used as a tool to blackmail ASUU and to portray UTAS in a bad light.

Addressing newsmen at the ASUU secretariat at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, on Wednesday last week, the zonal coordinator, Mr Uzo Onyebinama, recalled that among the outstanding issues yet to be addressed in the 2020 Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) is the acceptance and signing of the renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement which embodied the conditions of service for academic staff in public universities.

He decried that the academic staff in public universities in Nigeria had been on the same salary structure since 2009, warning that the union would never suspend its ongoing strike unless the Federal Government meets the two demands – signing of the renegotiated FGN-ASUU Agreement and deployment of UTAS.

He said: “Another major outstanding issue is the reluctance of the Federal Government to deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for the salaries and other entitlements of academic staff in public universities.

“UTAS is a brainchild of ASUU, born out of the patriotic zeal to improve financial and programme accounting in public universities, after it became obvious that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) had contributed to and compounded corruption in public universities.”

He lamented that despite the irregularities of the IPPIS, the Federal Government still stuck to it as a payment platform against all voices of reasoning.

According to him, UTAS received a score of 99.3 per cent after remediation and conclusion of tests by the NITDA.

Comrade Onyebinama maintained that the deployment of UTAS as the payment platform for academic staff in public universities is a central issue in the resolution of the strike, calling on leadership of NITDA to urgently do the needful and stop deceiving the public.

While faulting the federal and state governments over unbridled proliferation of private universities, he called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to review its laws to control the establishment of universities in the country.

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He also charged well-meaning Nigerians to speak up and challenge the government to rescue the education sector.

Onyebinama, called on the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Traditional rulers, Religion leaders, the Media and other concerned individuals and corporate bodies to also show concern on the ongoing disagreement between the Union and the Federal Government over member’s working conditions.

Earlier during the press conference, Comrade Stephen Ufoaroh, ASUU chairperson, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka branch, said the union would not relent in its effort to save the soul of public universities to ensure that an average Nigeria assesses quality university education at minimal costs.

Comrade Dennis Aribodor, a former ASUU-NAU chairperson, had, on the sideline of the press conference, called on Nigerians to rise up and challenge the government to avoid destroying public education starting from primary to tertiary institutions, even as he asked Nigerians to hold the government accountable.

Other ASUU branch chairpersons present at the press conference were Comrade Okey Aniebo of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU); Comrade Chinedu Ihejirika, Federal University of Science and Technology (FUTO); Comrade Odinakachukwu Ejiogu, Imo State University (IMSU); Comrade Chike Ugwuene, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU); as well as the immediate past chairpersons in the zone, Comrade Chinyere Echendu of MOUAU and Comrade Christopher Echerobia of FUTO

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