By Ayo Kehinde
L-R: Minister of Information, Adamu Adamu, his Labour and Employment counterpart, Dr Chris Ngige and Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU Presdent, right
The Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities, ASUU, has faulted claims by Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, that the union has been invited by the government to “demonstrate the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by our Union to the stakeholders at the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education and Minister of Labour and Employment to watch as arbiter”
The Minister had made the statement during his appearance at Politic Today programme of Channels TV on Tuesday.
Decrying the statement, ASUU, in a Wednesday statement, signed by Prof. Olusiji Sowande, Lagos Zonal Coordinator, said”
“The general public should please note that our Union, over a month ago, had written the MoL&E of our readiness to demonstrate the efficacy and superiority of UTAS over IPPIS and that as at the time of this press release no acknowledgement of receipt of our letter or letter of invitation for meeting has been received by our Union.”
According to Sowande, the Minister was also unfair to the Union, by taking a narrow view of the issues at stake:
“TheMinister also misinformed the public by narrowing down the issues in contention to our rejection of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) which UTAS seeks to replace. Other issues in contention for which our Union is currently on total, comprehensive and indefinite strike include failure of government to fully implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and February 2019 Memorandum of Action with timelines for release of funds for the revitalization of dilapidated infrastructure in public Universities, payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances, conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, setting up of Visitation Panels to Federal Universities and proliferation of State Universities.
“Dr. Chris Ngige was also economical with the truth by misinforming the public that government has been paying the salaries of members of our Union to date. The correct position is that government only paid our salaries up to June 2020. As of today our members are been owed three (3) months salaries while in some Universities our members have not received salary for six (6) month. In addition, government through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have criminally withheld five months (February-June, 2020) Check-Off deducted from our members salaries. We are therefore surprised that MoL&E could go on air to present information which he has not verified as truth to the unsuspecting public. The ongoing total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action by our Union will continue if this propaganda and lies against ASUU persists.
The general public and well-meaning Nigerians should prevail on government to do the needful in ending the current strike action.”