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ASUU tasks FG on lecturers’ welfare

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged President Bola Tinubu ensure that his administration adequately took care of the welfare of the nation’s public university lecturers.

The chairman, ASUU, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) chapter, Prof. Kingsley Ubaorji, said this when he addressed newsmen during a protest by members of the union in Awka on Tuesday.

Ubaorji said the inability of the Federal Government to honour some of the provisions of its previous agreements with ASUU was creating economic challenges for lecturers and jeopardising the growth of university education.

Ubaorji said at ASUU emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on June urged Tinubu implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement.

He said also begging for the President’s attention was the implementation of the Prof. Nimi Briggs Report, funding and revitalisation of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012 and 2013.

Ubaorji also called for the implementation of ASUU/FG MoA of 2017; release of the 3½ months of the withheld lecturers salaries and the payment of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).

Others are the release of unpaid staff salaries to lecturers who went on sabbatical and adjunct teachers, which was not done due to linking of universities to Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

He said that others areas of dispute were the release of third-party deductions and the implementation of University Transparency Account System (UTAS) in place of IPPIS.

He said the union also wants the federal government to implement the reports of the Visitation Panels.

He condemned what he described as the dissolution of Governing Councils of federal and state sniversities without following due process.

“Governing Councils are crucial for the governance and strategic direction of our universities.

“Therefore, the illegal and arbitrary dissolution of the Governing Council whose tenures have not ended undermines Nigerian universities’ autonomy and smooth functioning.

“This cannot be tolerated as it lays a very bad precedence. Even the membership of the said newly reconstituted Councils is problematic’’, he said.

Ubaorji said ASUU and government had entered into agreement detailing timelines and expectations of both parties aimed at developing the Nigeria’s universities system.

Ubaorji said the union would embark on a nationwide strike if the federal government failed to honour the terms of agreements it entered into with it.

“It may interest the general public, especially Nigerian students, to know that through ASUU struggles, Nigerians have enjoyed regulated and subsidised tuition fees.

“There is also the establishment of TETFund and NEEDS Assessment funds that have sponsored critical infrastructural projects in our universities, including lecture classrooms,” he said.

Also speaking the South East Zonal coordinator of ASUU Prof. Dennis Aribodor, urged the federal government to properly funds its existing universities, rather than establishing new ones.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the protesting lecturers carried placards some of which read: “FG pay us three years arrears”, “Stop suffocating university lecturers”,

Others are: “Honour Nimi Briggs agreement,” “End poverty level salaries”, “FG allow lecturers breathe,” “Pay us our worth,” “lectures dignity matters“. (NAN)

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