The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has so far only handed out N50 billion to public universities as part of the N1.3 trillion revitalization fund deal signed between the union and the Federal Government. in 2013.
ASUU President Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, while explaining why the union had to embark on the protracted strike, accused President Buhari’s administration of scrapping the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the then Jonathan administration for which an initial tranche of N200 billion was released. to the universities.
Although the Federal Government has allocated N470 billion in the 2023 budget to address some of the demands of ASUU and other staff unions in tertiary institutions, ASUU had since said that the amount was inadequate to address challenges in the system.
President Buhari has reportedly also informed Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu and other government officials not to sign any further agreements with the staff unions that the government cannot implement.
A document signed by the ASUU president, outlining ASUU’s events and demands in the newly suspended strike, obtained by the Nigerian Tribune, indicated that the union had met more than six times with government officials between October 22 and on June 6, 2022 without any clear commitment by the Federal Government to the terms of the agreement.
Osodoke said: “The Goodluck Jonathan government was initially hesitant to implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement on the revitalization of state universities.
“However, the Federal Government finally established a committee on the needs assessment of public universities in 2012.
“The committee recommended an immediate and massive injection of 1.3 trillion naira to stop and address the rottenness and deterioration of the institutions.
“This gave rise to the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of November 6, 2013. Since then, the MoU has been scrapped as can be seen: for 2013, N200 billion was released; in 2014, 220 billion naira, not released; in 2015, 220 billion naira, not released; 2016, N220 billion, unpublished; 2017 N220, unpublished; 2018 N220 billion, unpublished.
“Unfortunately, apart from the first tranche of 200 billion naira released and protected in 2013, the government has released only a paltry 50 billion naira to date.
“ASUU’s constant efforts to get the government to fully implement the 2009 Agreement, as well as the 2013 MoU, are at the root of union agitations and strikes over the last 10 years.
“More specifically, the FGN’s failure to work with the understandings reached in the meetings and to faithfully implement the terms of the agreement of the various memoranda led to the national strike declared by the union in March 2020. The strike was called off with an FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 23, 2020.”
ASUU declared a rolling strike on February 14, 2022 that lasted eight months, primarily because critical components of the December 2020 MoA were not satisfactorily implemented.
Osodoke said that ASUU rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a payment platform at federal universities in 2013 because it was prone to corruption and its imposition was an erosion of university autonomy guaranteed by law.
Describing IPPIS as a cesspool of corruption, the ASUU president said government officials had challenged the union to produce an alternative that could address IPPIS’s problems.
The union developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which has been subjected to various integrity tests by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
“Based on available reports, UTAS has been shown to be a much better alternative to IPPIS, which has now been widely recognized as a cesspool of corruption. However, for reasons best known to them, concerned government officials have been dragging their feet on the matter,” he said.
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