After two months of total shut down of public universities across the country, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, declared that there is no hope in sight when students would return to schools.
Besides, ASUU challenged the position of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), a local software produced by ASUU to replace the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Briefing journalists in Kano, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Kano Zone, Prof. Abdulkadir Muhammad, disclosed that reopening the universities depends on the readiness of the Federal Government to meet the union’s conditions.
Abdulkadir insisted that unless and until government clearly addresses the core contending issues, ASUU was prepared to sustain the current total strike.
Asked whether he didn’t think the government was unable to meet the union’s demands largely due to the current economic downturn, Abdulkadir declared that government was only playing to the gallery.
He said the present administration had never considered investment on education as a priority despite spending on matters that could not compare to education.
He said the union has complied with all the requirements in the renegotiation team recently constituted by the Federal Government, insisting that the union would not withdraw its position until government signs and implements the new conditions of service as well as approves the deployment of UTAS.
The ASUU leader, who alleged a deliberate attempt by NITDA to sabotage ASUU’s locally developed payment system, challenged it to make public the template for its credibility test on UTAS.
NITAD had claimed that the celebrated ASUU’s UTAS failed all known credibility test, hence a certificate of compliance could not be guaranteed for its usage.
But ASUU had responded that NITDA’s remark on UTAS was puzzling since the 85 percent mark scored the software could not be considered as failure by any standard.
Abdulkadir added: “The Kano zone of ASUU is of the view that the NITDA DG’s blunder has reminded all discerning Nigerians of the imperative of prioritising character and competence in appointing public office holders. It is our hope that the Federal Government will toe the line of honour to allow the ongoing integrity test to be finalised for quick deployment of UTAS in the interest of Nigerian public university system.
“Failure to do this will only exacerbate industrial disharmony in this critical sector of our national life. We call on all stakeholders – students, parents, civil society organisation, religious and traditional leaders, media and the general public – to be more vigilant and join us in the struggle to save Nigerian university system from neo-liberal attacks, which IPPIS embodies.”
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