The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said it would not honour the October 12, 2020 resumption date announced by the Federal Government for public universities in the country following the easing of the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.
The union said this through its National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with The PUNCH.
Ogunyemi told The PUNCH that the Federal Government was not sincere about negotiations with the union, adding that lecturers would not resume on an empty stomach.
He specifically took a swipe at the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, for violating a directive of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, that lecturers’ salaries should be paid, adding that Nigerians should be ready for a long-drawn strike in universities with the way government was handling negotiations.
He said: “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach.
“You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met.
“It is a very clear decision that anybody will make in this circumstance.”
The main crux of the face-off between the Federal Government and ASUU has been over the payment solution to use for universities.
While the Federal Government said like other workers on its payroll, the ASUU should key into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the union wants the University Transparency Accountability Solution, which it designed, adopted.
Owing to this disagreement, the lecturers that submitted their details had been captured on the IPPIS and paid their salaries till date, though some complained about discrepancies.
However, those who are not on the IPPIS are being owed about three months salaries.
Ogunyemi, however, told The PUNCH that the Federal Government had not allowed it to even demonstrate how the UTAS works.
He said on August 18, ASUU wrote the Federal Government on the issue but did not receive any reply until September 30.
He said: “They said they were considering our requests for a meeting.
“Mainly, we raised two points in the letter we wrote to them: that we are ready to demonstrate our platform, which is the alternative to the IPPIS.
“We had earlier presented it to the Ministry of Education, although we told the Ministry of Labour that they should facilitate presentation to other stakeholders, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.