….say cabals in government of benefiting from IPPIS

From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Owerri Zone have accused the Federal and State governments of continued and consistent ploys to undermine the existence and integrity of the public universities in Nigeria through “systemic neglect, acute under-funding and bastardization of university autonomy” which they said has resulted to the inability of Nigerian universities to compete globally.

Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Owerri zone, Prof Dennis Aribodor who spoke at ASUU Secretariat, NnamdI Azikiwe University, Awka yesterday during a press conference of the zone on the unresolved issues among federal and state governments and ASUU, and the need for urgent action to avert crisis, said the Nigeria University system is currently facing the most crucial existential threats occasioned by governments’ total neglect and abandonment.
He said ASUU Owerri Zone is crying out against governments’ concerted efforts to annihilate public universities in Nigeria in favour of the commercialization of university education through private universities owned by politically exposed individuals.

Citing various issues confronting the university system as it affects the academic staff, ASUU Owerri Zone called for the conclusion of the Renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement so as to maintain industrial harmony across Nigeria public universities

The group lamented that the non-signing of Prof Nimi Brigg’s Committee Report of 2022 has left the university lecturers to remain in same salary structure for the past 15 years, a scenario they stated has pauperized Nigeria university workers with meager take-home pay that cannot actually take them home.

“The current pay of a Professor at bar is about $500 per month which is a mockery when compared with countries in West Africa not to talk of the entire African continent and the world. Universities are international centres and Nigerian public universities should be seen to be so.The mass exodus (Japa syndrome) of academics from the Nigerian public universities for greener pasture portends a great danger not only to the universities but to the development of Nigeria, and should be urgently arrested”.

On earned allowance, ASUU stated on a sad note that the Federal Government is yet to pay the backlog of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) in federal universities while the Anambra and Imo State Governments have refused to pay EAA to their lecturers in COOU and Imo State University (IMSU), respectively as obtainable in state universities in other parts of the country.

ASUU singled out Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State and Imo State University, Owerri as two institutions in the south east where lecturers are treated shabbily while unions are also harassed.

“The neglect of lecturers in COOU and IMSU is unprecedented. It is heartbreaking that lecturers in COOU who have given their all to the services of the universities retire without pension. They are left to go home and wait for their death. In both COOU and IMSU, the current wage award of 25% and 35% to public university workers, consequential minimum wage increase, palliative for fuel subsidy removal and arrears of CONUASS are yet to receive governments’ attention”.

“Till this moment, the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2020 which provided for mainstreaming of EAA into monthly salaries from is yet to be implemented in the state-owned universities in Anambra and Imo States”.

On the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), ASUU lamented that despite the Presidential pronouncement and directive for the removal of Universities from IPPIS, “the cabals” in the Federal Government particularly in the Federal Ministry of Finance who are illegally benefiting from IPPIS have refused to implement the presidential directive.

It said amputation of salaries of their members has persisted while the outstanding payment of promotion arrears and consequential adjustment in minimum wage remained unattended to.

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“ASUU has continuously rejected IPPIS because it is a corrupt payroll system imposed on the Tertiary Institutions by the Buhari led Administration which grossly violates the Autonomy of our Universities. The Union is worried by the bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing the exit of Tertiary Institutions from the discredited IPPIS”.

“The Union therefore calls on the President to ensure that his directive in this regard is speedily executed. The Visitor to IMSU is called upon to remove IMSU from TSA because it is an aberration and erosion of university autonomy”

“ASUU as a Union of intellectuals has been contending with over the years through our resolved struggles to ensure that public Universities in Nigeria do not collapse. We invite and urge all stakeholders to play their parts in ensuring that federal and state governments play their expected roles to avert a looming danger. ASUU struggles are patriotic and are meant to ensure that our public Universities are adequately re-positioned to deliver on their mandates by ensuring effective teaching, research and community service; thus contributing to national development” they stated.

ASUU Owerri Zone is made up of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Igbariam (COOU), Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Imo State University Owerri (IMSU), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka (NAU), The press briefing was attended by their leaders across the institutions.









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