The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said it is ready to suspend the seven-month-long strike but cannot work on empty stomachs.
This is as the Union said the Federal Government’s plan of using hunger as a weapon to weaken its agitation and demands will not work.
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator at the Union, Prof. Ade Adejumo, made the disclosures on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, during a press conference to give an update on the strike action.
According to Thenationonline, Thanks. Adejumo who spoke through the Chairperson, University of Ilorin ASUU, Prof Moyo Ajao, urged well-meaning Nigerians to compel Federal Government to release the withheld salaries of its members, remit the check-off dues of the Union to the rightful owner and speed up the process of testing the integrity of UTAS so that it may be deployed for payment beginning from January 2021.
Describing the ongoing disagreement on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a distraction to the demands of the Union, Prof. Adejumo noted that apart from the IPPIS being a cesspool of corruption, it is strange that the Government would lump the payment of Lecturers together with that of Civil Servants as such is not done anywhere in the world.
He said: “Nigerians and the international community should be aware that despite the ongoing negotiations, the Government has refused to pay our salaries and allowances. It has also callously withheld the check-off dues of some of our members, who were selectively paid amputated salaries, in order to starve the Union of the energy needed to sustain the negotiations.
Prof. Adejumo appealed to members of the Union to continue to persevere the same way they persevered during the inglorious days of Military misrule.
He noted that: “We are ready to suspend the strike as our children too are tired of staying at home but we cannot work on empty stomachs while politicians homes and warehouses are filled with palliative materials that they don’t even need. Let the politicians note that the interest of Nigeria and the future generations is more paramount to ASUU than the immediate gains of its members. That is what ASUU has been consistent in challenging the rots in the system through sustained engagements with powers that be since the time of the Military.”
“The gains of ASUU struggles are in the changes that TETFund has been able to bring to the tertiary education sector in the country and ASUU will not relent in pushing for a better university system in the country.
“The road may be tough, the burden is huge but ASUU remain committed in saving our public universities and not making them suffer the lot of our public schools.”
The press conference was also attended by ASUU chairpersons from the zone including Dr Femi Abanikanda (Osun State University), Dr Dauda Adeshola (Kwara State University), Prof Ayoola Akinwole (University of Ibadan), and Prof Olusiji Sowande Lagos Zonal Coordinator, ASUU.