By Ike Uchechukwu
Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has described the 22 months unpaid salaries of its members as psychological duress which has subjected the leadership and members to undue Pressure.
They further stated that the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, was not only a cesspool of corruption but a bad Introduction to the Nigerian University system.
Briefing journalists on Tuesday in Calabar, Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Calabar Zone,Dr Aniekan Brown stated that it was logical to state that the government has subjected ASUU leadership and members to undue hardship and pressure by owing it’s members 22 months salaries.
They stated: “It has become very unfortunate that some employees of government could come to a public function to describe all agreements signed between Government and ASUU as one signed under duress by Government.
“This can best be taken as cheap blackmail. While we believe that the poor state of our university campuses is as a result of the collective irresponsibility of successive governments,
It is absolutely logical to state that Government puts ASUU members and leadership under immense pressure and psychological duress with the attendant threat to lives to ensure that we sign such agreements under extreme excruciating conditions.
“An act of stopping someone’s livelihood is in itself, a life-threatening weapon of war even when there is no war. We therefore advise such Government employees to desist from misinforming the public to avoid re-igniting a dying fire of industrial disharmony, which ASUU has patriotically sustained in the past year,” he said.
Recall that on the 23rd of December, 2020, our Union, using the words of our Comrade President, “patriotically suspended” the Strike action after 9 months of being in the trenches.
“The patriotic suspension was an extreme act of goodwill signifying our sole-desire to ensure industrial harmony in our public universities while trusting that the FGN will fulfil her own end of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed then with attached timelines.
“It is very unfortunate that almost one year down the line, the FGN is yet to fulfil her own part of the MoA including nonpayment of salaries to some members , deployment of UTAS, payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA amongst others.
“Many of our members are still being owed salaries from the period stretching since February, 2020. This has subjected our colleagues to untold hardship that has been further aggravated by an economy riddled by inflation and its attendant plunge.
“It is unthinkable that a government could be comfortable when a cross section of its academic staff has not been paid for onward of 22 months.
Sadly, many officers of Government have now won the inglorious responsibility of trying to gloss over this sordid development by adopting the negative stratagem of eulogizing the TSA and IPPIS which have failed in the university system.
“From the aforementioned, it is obvious that Government has vehemently refused to deal with these issues head-on, possibly because most of their wards are studying in universities abroad. Therefore, the reason for this degree of callousness is not farfetched.
“On the strength of the need to truly position our Public Universities to compete globally and for the sanctity of our future which lies in our leaders of tomorrow – our Youth, our Students, it is a case of historical responsibility that rests on Government, to wholeheartedly conform to the tenets of collective bargaining as expressed in the MoA of December 2020, which they signed out of their own volition.
“We therefore call on the public to stand by this fair call on Government to do the needful and clear all issues in the said MoA it willingly signed with ASUU. Failure to so honour the agreement will most assuredly compel us to take our destiny in our hands,” they stated.