From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities Nsukka Zone, (ASUU-Nsukka Zone), has, again called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sign immediately and implement the draft renegotiated 2009 agreement among other demands.

The Zonal Coordinator, Raphael Amokaha, who made the call while briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Friday, said ASUU Nsukka Zone is again compelled to bring to the notice of Nigerians the unfortunate attitude of the president led government to the agitations of o their Union and the distress of the Nigerian public universities.

Recall that the Zone had in February 2024 briefed newsmen on some of the issues plaguing the union which includes the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement, poor funding of the universities, breach of university autonomy particularly the integrated personnel payment information system (IPPIS), and the concomitant issues that arose from the breach, non payment of Earned Academic Allowance, (EAA) and other emoluments and entitlements to their members, their eight months salary which were withheld by government on account of the 2022 strike.

Amokaha who stated that ASUU had been subbed regretted that three months later none of the issues have been satisfactorily resolved while some have not been touched at all.

Amokaha stated that the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is about to celebrate one year in office saying “Unfortunately, members of our union do not share in the elation of one year celebration.

“Our expectations were much higher than the present reality. Again, we cry out to the President, let the lecturers breath. Do not suffocate us.

“The draft renegotiated 2009 agreement must be signed immediately and implemented even though it may need to be looked at before signing now, in order that what will be agreed upon now will be commensurate to the hyperinflation ravaging our country.

“The balance of the eight months withheld salaries owed our colleagues should be paid immediately. They have now done the work in full and to make it worse, the value of the eight months’ salary is now barely up to the value of two months’ salary at that time.

“The EAA arrears of our members must be paid urgently and this allowance mainstreamed as was agreed.”

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ASUU Nsukka Zone also urged the Tinubu government to make use of the University Transparent Accountability Solutions, (UTAS), as an alternative payment platform and ensure the complete disengagement of the universities from IPPIS whether new, old or Government Integrated Financial Management System, (GIFMIS).

ASUU which noted that both IPPIS and GIFMIS breach the autonomy of the universities wondered why it has become difficult to return to the pre IPPIS era even after the Federal Executive Council, (FEC), directed the removal of Universities from IPPIS.

“It does not speak well of the cohesion and efficiency of the government if a FEC directive can be so easily disregarded or misinterpreted,” they noted.

Speaking further for the zone, Amokaha also demanded adequate funding of universities to enable the country break away from the vicious cycle of fluctuations in her economic fortunes.

“We as a nation cannot continue to rely on the price of crude or the value of the dollar. We must diversify into a knowledge based economy. This will be the foundation of an industrial boom and its attendant benefits.

“This cannot be achieved without massive funding of the education sector. It may be a long term plan but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step.”

While he alleged deliberate plans by successive governments to demobilize ASUU, Amokaha said ASUU stands for truth, justice, peace and progress and it will not give up on its struggle to have globally competitive universities and by extension a far greater Nigeria that people are even afraid to hope for.

ASUU-Nsukka Zone expressed implicit confidence in the national leadership of the union to continue to lead them on the path of selflessness and commitment to a better university system and a better country.

The Zonal Coordinator ASUU Nsukka Zone was flanked by the National Resource Person from ASUU Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi (FUAM), Prof. Ralph Ofukwu, National Resource Person from ASUU BSU, Prof Member George -Gernyi, Chairperson ASUU FUAM, Paul Anyagh, Immediate past Chairman ASUU FUAM, Prof Simon Ejembi, Chairperson ASUU Federal University Wukari, (ASUU FUWukari) Emmanuel Lawson, Acting Chairperson, ASUU BSU, Alia Sule Akor, among other members.


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