The federal government has reacted to the fresh threats by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) to resume nationwide strike.
ASUU had threaten to resume a fresh nationwide strike over federal government failure to yield to it’s demands.
ASUU threatened to down tools nationwide over alleged federal government failure to implement agreements reached to suspend a 9-months old strike earlier in December, 2020, DAILY GIST had reported.
ASUU made the threats on Sunday through its chairman at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Ibrahim Inuwa.
In a statement made available to Journalists, Inuwa said; ”Only two out of the eight items including salary shartfall and visitation panel to federal Universities have been addressed.”
Inuwa noted that the other items that Federal Government failed to implement including Earned Academic Allowance, Funding for revitalization of public Universities, Proliferation of State Universities, Renegotiation and
Replacement of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System with University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
He added that the timeline for the release of the next tranche of EAA stipulated for May 2021 has lapsed with dead silence from FGN. To avoid further accumulation of arrears of the EAA, it was also agreed that it shall be mainstreamed into the salary. This has not been implemented
The Chairman said that the University campuses are becoming tense and restive across the length and breadth as academics are threatening to shut down activities once again.
“This is coming as result of the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement many aspects of memorandum of Action (MoA) it willingly signed with ASUU that ended the last strike in December, 2020.”
He further disclosed that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) through the IPPIS office have continued to omit their members from payment of salaries while others experience serious salary amputation.
“We are convinced this is done in connivance with the University Administration through the distortion of our members personal details. Additionally, the OAGF is not fully remitting check off dues deducted from our salaries.
The ultimate goal of the OAGF appears to be doing everything humanly possible to coerce members of ASUU to enroll into IPPIS and to kill the union finally,” he said.
Inuwa noted that It is obvious to the Union that the Office Accountant General is deliberately omitting their members from payment of Salaries and withholding check of dues as a ploy for victimization and coercion to enroll ASUU members into IPPIS.
“This plague has been evident across all Federal Universities in Nigeria since February, 2020. This to us is an outright act of ingratitude on the part of the Government for the sacrifices members of ASUU are making in order to establish a progressive nation. A clear case of punishing citizens for being patriotic
However, reacting to ASUU’s claim, The federal government on tuesday dismissed the ASUU’s allegations that it had breached agreements it reached with the union.
The Spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Ben Gong disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH.
According to Gong, UTAS does not make provision for tax deduction from salaries. He added that ASUU members cannot collect salaries without paying taxes.
He challenged the union to be more specific in its allegations that government had violated agreements.
He said the ministry was preparing an official letter to seek clarifications from ASUU over its recent pronouncements.
Gong stated, “Let them (ASUU) be specific on their accusations. Let them state the parts of the agreements which have not been met.
“Let them also mention the ministries responsible for not meeting the agreements.
“For example, if we say we want to pay them this amount of money, is it not the ministry of finance who will do the payment?
“For the UTAS platform, there is no provision on that platform for tax deduction. How do you pay someone’s salary without tax deductions? Let them list their issues.
When we saw the publications (by ASUU). We wrote to the permanent secretary to notify him of the allegations by ASUU and we pleaded with him to tell the Chairman (Executive Secretary) of the National Universities Commission to launch an inquiry.”
Besides the issue of payment, ASUU had also accused the federal government of appointing non-graduates into the governing boards of universities.
Responding to this, Gong stated, “The permanent secretary has directed that a letter be written to ASUU. This was what the permanent secretary said, ‘Write to the ASUU president to indicate those he claimed are not graduates among the members of governing council for further investigations.’ I am already writing the publication.”