By Adejumo Enock
The Coordinator, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Owerri zone, Uzo Onyibinama has disclosed that Federal Government’s past betrayal of trust to honour previous agreements was the main reason the strike was still lingering.
Onyibinama made it known in a press briefing on Wednesday, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
Onyibinama stressed Integrated Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) was not the sole reason for the strike as being claimed by the government, stating that the union would not call off its eight-month strike even if Federal Government forgoes IPPIS as a means of paying them.
He insisted the union would not resume work unless Federal Government attends to the warring issues.
The coordinator pointed out “For the avoidance of doubt, the issues in contention remain revitalisation fund for public universities, arrears of Earned Academic Allowances, visitation to universities, proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them, and conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement.
“The later issue of IPPIS was a new introduction and a diversion as no university in the world runs such a system.
“Instead of apologising to the Nigerians and hiding their heads in shame on the serial failures of Governments particularly the present Government which came on the mantra of ‘change’, the duo of Ministers Chris Ngige and Emeka Nwajiuba have been feeding Nigerians with lies and half-truth.
“Ministers Ngige and Nwajiuba have on many occasions on various media organizations said that agreement have been reached on virtually all the issues that necessitated the seven months old strike.
“They should please tell Nigerians, who are their masters, those agreements that have been reached and implemented. As far as our Union is concerned, nono agreement has been reached on any of the demands.
“So, instead of constantly running to the press, Ngige and Nwajiuba should sit down and painstakingly do the work that they are paid to do. It is on record that the date given by the Minister Ngige to reach our Union with Government improved position has elapsed without any communication”.
According to him, there was insincerity on the part of the Government, they elapsed the proposed new timelines for implementation of the appointment of a new team for renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, gazetting of visitation panels and others.
Furthermore, Uzo reiterated the union has been consistently rejecting the platform as it impairs the University system’s autonomy, a threat to national security considering that the software is hosted in Washington, the USA with a sub-platform at Gombe State.