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Blame FG, Not Us, If We Go On Strike, ASUU Warns

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ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again expressed displeasure over what it described as continued lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government towards honouring the agreements made with the union, saying it should not wait until the union embarks on nationwide strike before doing the needful.

The Lagos Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, who lectures at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, gave this position at a news conference in Lagos, on Tuesday.

The leadership of ASUU in five universities that made up the zone, namely, UNILAG, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State were in attendance.

Speaking further, Odukoya said the Federal Government had already pushed the union to the wall and ready to bite anytime from now.

According to him, ASUU knows that the only language the Federal Government understands before doing what is expected of it not only for ASUU but also for other unions is industrial action.

He said it was not as if ASUU or any other labour unions in the country or elsewhere across the globe like to go on strike particularly because of attendant consequences of such action, but because such actions have proven to be only potent language that Nigerian government at all levels understand.

“But it is very unfortunate that government should be waiting for industrial action before addressing issues of public importance,” he lamented.

Odukoya explained that ASUU consistent agitations were for the survival and sustenance of public university education and autonomy in the country and not for ASUU members’ interests as the federal government always portraits it before the public.

According to him, without ASUU constant engagement with government towards a better public university education in the country, the system would have been collapsed for a long time.

He said it was disheartening that the Federal Government rather than being forthright and sincere in all her dealing with ASUU on the seven issues in contention, is feeding the public with falsehood.

He said the contentious issues between them overtime in the last 12 years remain the same with the government playing back and front game with ASUU, except that it honoured only two out of about seven-point demands that formed the last Memorandum of Action with the government and upon which the last strike that last nine months was suspended.

He listed the remaining five issues to include “government’s reluctance to fulfil the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement bothering on the provision of funds for the revitalisation of dilapidating infrastructure (hostel accommodation, befitting lecture theatres, state-of-the-art laboratories, good working environment for lecturers, and so forth), payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), arresting the trend of proliferation of state-owned universities while neglecting the funding of the existing ones and the renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement

He pointed out that the issue of forceful enrollment of ASUU members into the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) at the expense of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) remained a deliberate attempt of the government to divert the attention of the public from its insincerity, lack of interest and disregard for the education of Nigerian university students.

He said it was only in Nigeria in Africa that university lecturers with master degree holders as the least among them could earn poverty-wage while the politicians earn fat salaries.

He however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians across strata, to without delay prevail on the Federal Government to do the needful by honouring the remaining terms of their last agreement.

“Otherwise, our union would be left with no option than to resuscitate our struggle to get the government to live up with its responsibilities and we shouldn’t be blamed for that,” he concluded.

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ASUU-FG Meeting Ends In Deadlock, Strike To Continue

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Tuesday’s meeting between the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government has again ended without an agreement.

This means the six-month old strike by public university lecturers is set to continue.

The striking lecturers had met with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee on Tuesday at the National University Commission in Abuja with high hopes of resolving the impasse.

A senior member of ASUU, who craved anonymity told Channels Television that members of the Briggs renegotiation committee did not come with any new offer on the table.

Instead, the ASUU source said, the committee plead with the lecturers to suspend the ongoing strike, with promises that their concerns will be included in the 2023 budget.

According to the source, the meeting, which started at about 12pm, lasted for about three hours without any agreement reached.

ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.

On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.

Since May 9, the union has remained on strike, vowing to persist until its demands are met.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The agreement was struck in 2009.

Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

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Flush Out Every Criminal Elements In Imo, IGP Charges Officers

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The Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, on Tuesday, ordered security operatives in the state to decimate the “enemies” of the state.

The IGP, who gave the charge at the state government House while inaugurating the Amorured Personnel Carriers procured by the state government to aid the fight against banditry, said that the state was strategic in the economy of the South-East zone.

Alkali said that the procurement of APCs would serve as a morale booster for his men in fighting criminals in the state.

He said that his office was always ready to collaborate with the state government to get the state rid of criminal elements in the state.

“With utmost professionalism and absolute synergy among security agencies in the fight against criminality, the people believe unwarranted attacks by criminals will soon be brought to the bearest in Imo State,” he said.

The state governor, Hope Uzodimma, said that his administration was committed to the security and prosperity of the state.

Uzodiinma said, “Although security is in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, the reality is that all tiers of government must synergize to ensure the protection of property and lives of the citizenry. Since the inception of my administration, I have always worked with the federal government and the security agencies to ensure that Imo Stare is safe for our people, residents, and visitors.

“Therefore, what we are doing today is not a coincidence but a deliberate and sustainable effort aimed at enhancing the capacity of the police to execute their constitutional law enforcement mandate.

“You will recall that shortly after I assumed office, I procured more than 100 patrol vehicles equipped with modern communication gadgets for the police and other security agencies to help them fight crime and criminality in the state. We followed that up with the donation of the first set of Armoured Personnel Carriers.

“Today, on behalf of the state government, I am presenting for the commissioning and immediate deployment of additional 10 numbers of Armoured Personal Carriers and other vehicles to further strengthen the effectiveness of the police force in the state. This latest donation has been necessitated by the fact that the police have become targets of attacks across the country, including here in Imo State. They are intended to protect the Police from such heartless attacks, to enable them to protect us.

“Conscious of the fact that the price of peace is eternal vigilance, it is only fit and proper that we should provide the police with the necessary equipment to maintain the peace we need.

“As I have always said, there can be no development without peace. Let me reiterate the fact that the government under my watch will do all we can to protect the lives and property of all citizens and residents of Imo state. I am aware that the sponsors of insecurity in the state are not tired of trying to make the state ungovernable for us.

“They continue to deploy every instrument at their disposal, including sheer blackmail, propaganda which they easily spread via Social Media to misinform and incite the public against my administration. They even went as far as trying to set the state against the federal government and other ethnic groups by engaging in all manner of propaganda. But, they will continue to fail because they do not mean well to the people, and the victory of good over evil is always assured.

“Those who will stop at nothing, including shedding the blood of innocent citizens, to get to power must know that they will be held accountable for their evil deeds either here on earth or hereafter. Let me, therefore, use this auspicious occasion to once again call on such people to always remember that the need to secure the collective peace of Imo people should always come before our personal ambitions. They should give peace a chance it deserves.


“As the Governor of the state, let me assure the good people of Imo state that I will continue to do my utmost best to ensure that Imo remains safe for everyone, including investors. I hereby reiterate my appeal to our youths to shun violence in any form and embrace the empowerment programmes of the state government. Always remember crime does not pay. Don’t ever allow any politician to use you for his selfish purposes.

“To our security agencies, especially the police, the state government under my watch will continue to make your jobs easier. As you continue to diligently and gallantly serve the country, always know that you are not alone.”

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Strike: Onochie Accuses ASUU Of Blackmailing Buhari’s Govt

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of blackmailing governments in Nigeria.

To this end, Onochie urged the National Assembly to enact laws that would mandate ASUU to pay the salaries of striking members.

Onochie said it is unfair for ASUU executives to live off the union’s dues alone.

In a tweet, Onochie wrote: “ASUU has blackmailed every government in Nigeria. The National Assembly should enact a law that mandates ASUU to pay the salaries of striking members.

“The current situation where ASUU executives alone, live off Union Dues leaving members high and dry, is unfair to their members.”

ASUU has been on strike since February 2022 over the Federal Government’s inability to fulfil its 2009 agreements.

The lingering strike is also a result of the government’s refusal to accept the UTAS software developed by the union for payment of lecturers’ salaries.

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