The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says the strike action declared by the union in March will continue despite the order by the federal government for the reopening of universities which were shut down to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Austin Sado, chairman, University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers state, ASUU chapter, made this known during an interview with our Correspondent in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital.
Dr. Sado argued that since ASUU embarked on strike before the federal government ordered the closure of all schools to curtail the spread of coronavirus disease, the union will not heed the order given by the federal government for resumption of academic activities in all schools in the country.
SummitNews recalls that following the outbreak of COVID-19, the federal government had ordered the closure of all schools in the country, including the universities to curtail the spread of the disease.
“ On the 23rd of March, ASUU declared an industrial dispute against the federal government, and the union has been on strike since then, and so the closure and resumption of schools over the issue of COVID-19 has got nothing to do with us,’ he said.
Dr. Sado maintained that since the federal government has remained adamant to the complaints of the ASUU, members of the union will continue their strike despite the schools’ resumption announced by the federal government.
”We are still on strike, even when schools resumption is announced, and students are back in the campus, it does not change anything.
“ We expect that government will create time to engage the ASUU to discuss the way and means of dealing with the conflict which emanated from that 23rd of March,” he maintained.
On the federal government’s announcement that it would not go back on its decision to implement the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) the ASUU Uniport chapter chairman stressed that IPPIS was a diversion by the government to portray ASSU in bad light, and of being against the ongoing anti corruption war in the country.
”IPPIS has never been a case as far as we are concerned. IPPIS ended in 2013 when there was an agreement that IPPIS in its present state cannot function in the Universities.
“Government brought IPPIS as a distraction to confuse Nigerians, and make them believe that ASSU was resisting the fight against corruption.
“What we did by taking up the mandate to develop alternative software of Universities Transparency and Accountable Solution (UTAS) is a patriotic contribution to the development of this country.
“We have submitted it to government. It is expected that government will certify and begin to use it,” he said.
Dr. Sado further averred that apart from UTAS there are other pressing issues that needed to be highlighted and settled.
”Even when government begins to use the UTAS it will not ameliorate the consequences of the strike because, we have issues of revitalization funds for the university, the renegotiation of 2009 agreement, the proliferation of universities by state governments.
“We issues of governance in those universities, the mainstreaming of earned academic allowance, the payments of outstanding earn academic allowances of lecturers in Nigerian Universities.
“These are all issues government has entered into agreement in a memoranda of action in February 2019 which set out timeline for its implementation.
“The federal government has not kept fate with that document until that happens, nothing will help to change the strike,” he vowed.