Students in the nation’s public institutions and their parents can temporarily heave a sigh of relief, as aggrieved university teachers have shelved their planned strike following the intervention of concerned stakeholders.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), led by its National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said it would give room for more dialogue with the Federal Government before deciding on the next line of action.
Osodeke expressed concern over government’s alleged resort to blackmail against the union and its refusal to honour the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed by both parties before suspending its nine-month strike last December.
He said: “The union is worried by the spirited efforts of government agents to reduce the demands of ASUU to a regime of intermittent payment of watered-down revitalisation fund and release of distorted and grossly devalued Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).”
The ASUU boss accused the government of reneging on its promise to set up an inter-ministerial committee to review the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement.
He regretted that the Minister of State for Education, Chukuwuemeka Nwajiuba, had allegedly failed to revive the renegotiation process as promised.
On its proposed payment system, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Osodeke wondered why the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is yet to give its feedback.
The union said it is pleased by the evaluation report by NITDA, which, endorses UTAS and called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to promptly respond to issues that concern them in the NITDA’s report to pave way for speedy migration to the payment platform.
The university lecturers had threatened to down tools over government’s failure to honour the agreement reached with the union concerning payment of allowances and imposition of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) on members.
But Osodeke said with the intervention of concerned stakeholders, the union agreed to suspend its planned strike to give room for negotiation.