Honour Existing Agreement, Fund State Varsities – ASUU Tells Buhari Govt

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called on the Federal Government to honour the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) it entered with the union.

Dr Stephen Ufoaroh, Chairman of ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) Awka branch, who gave the advice at a post-congress news conference on Tuesday, said that the call was to avert an industrial crisis.

Ufoaroh said the peace in Nigeria’s universities was being threatened by the refusal of the FG to honour the agreement between it and ASUU, which was entered into on Dec. 23, 2020, noting that the timeline had been breached by over 12 months.

He said failure to honour the terms of the agreement coupled with the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) had resulted in mutilated salaries, non-payment of promotion arrears, and Earned Academic Allowance.

“As of today, Feb.1, academic staff in Federal Universities are owed between one month to more than two years arrears of salaries, the situation is more pathetic in some state-owned Universities, especially in the South East.

“In the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University of Anambra State, there is no pension scheme, non-payment of several years of earned academic allowances, among others.

“We once again alert Nigerians, that unless the Federal Government strives to sincerely resolve these issues, there will be no rest for us all.

“There will be no more MOUs or MOAs, until everything is fully implemented,” he said.

The ASUU chairman said that the unfriendly working environment in the universities and the poor remuneration of the teaching staff had encouraged continued brain drain in the sector.

Ufoaroh said some State governments no longer fund their university, which had become Tertiary Education Trust and Needs Assessment fund dependent.

According to him, “the take-home pay of a Professor at the current rate of exchange was less than $1000 from the $3000 it was in 2009, this is a serious cause for concern about its adverse effect on the output and productivity of such Professors.

“Little wonder that many Professors are shopping around for positions and appointments as against their vocations, the exodus of Professors from academics is a death knell on the university system in Nigeria.

“In State Universities, most visitors (State Governors) have scandalously abandoned their responsibilities to the State-owned universities.”

“These State Universities are now in existence and being sustained by funds from TETFund and NEEDS Assessment Funds, both being products of ASUU struggles. Even payment of personnel costs is abandoned,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari had pledged the Federal Government’s readiness to honour existing agreements with ASUU.

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