From  Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abuja zone, has said there would be no resumption in public universities until renegotiated 2009 agreement is signed, implemented and the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) deployed.

This is as the Benin zone called on Nigerians to join in salvaging what remains of the country by repositioning the universities to be globally competitive and able to produce manpower resources required to jump-start the reemergence as a global technological and economic power.

Abuja Zonal Coordinator, Dr Salawu Muhammed Lawal, at a press conference at the University of Abuja in Gwagwalada, yesterday, said members were ever ready to return to their duty post as soon as their demands are met by the Federal Government.

The zone comprises Federal University of Lafia, Federal University of Technology Minna, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, and the University of Abuja.

“You would recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) declared a four week rolling strike at the University of Lagos National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Feb. 14.

“Owing to the failure of the Federal Government to act within that period, the national action was rolled over for another eight weeks following the resolution taken at an emergency NEC meeting at the Festus Iyayi National Secretariat on March 14.

“The action as you are probably aware is to among other things, compel the Federal Government to sign and implement the draft renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement submitted to it by the Prof. Munzali Committee since May 2021.

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“Deploy for use in the Nigerian university system, was the home-grown payment and personnel solution called UTAS developed by ASUU as replacement for the failed IPPIS.

“As usual, the Federal Government has ignored ASUU’s call for full implementation of that famous agreement and other memoranda signed with the union.

“No meeting has been held between the two parties since the commencement of the ongoing strike. The only exception is our union’s re-submission of UTAS for a retest.

“The summary is that unless and until the renegotiated 2009 agreement is signed and implemented and UTAS deployed, there will be no work in public universities,” he said.

Zonal coordinator, ASUU-Benin zone, Fred I. Esumeh, said after more than a year of exploring all available and legitimate means in its efforts to compel the Federal Government to honour the terms of the Memorandum of Action it signed with the union on the 22 of December, 2020, was left with no option other than to declare a four-week roll-over strike action.

He maintained that the issues raised by the union could have been solved within weeks by any well-meaning and serious-minded government.

He lamented that the six weeks have elapsed and the union was still waiting to have a first meeting of any sort with the government’s team. He warned that if the government failed to rescue the nation’s universities, it may lead to a total collapse.

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