Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment (sitting at the head table) in one of his many negotiation meetings with the leadership of ASUU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have come out to deny that it has suspended its ongoing nine-month-old strike. Dr. Lazarus Maigoro, Chairman of the University of Jos Chapter of ASUU made this disclosure this in an interview on Friday in Jos.
He said the union has not signed any agreement with the Federal Government to call off the strike as being peddled in some quarters. He said that the Federal Government had promised to fulfill part of the agreement that led to lingering strike but had failed to do so till date.
According to him, “It must be categorically stated here that ASUU never signed any agreement to suspend the strike but agreed on timelines for government to implement certain aspects of the issues in contention. For instance, one of the issues agreed was that all the six to nine months withheld salaries and check-off dues of ASUU members will be released by Dec. 9, but the date has passed, and nothing was done.
“The N40 billion earned academic allowances and N30 billion funding for revitalisation will also be released by Dec. 11, among other issues, but till now, none has been fulfilled. The next thing is that we heard Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, telling the public that ASUU agreed to suspend the strike.”
Maigoro added that the minister was quoted in some sections of the media that government has fulfilled its part of the agreement reached to enable the union to call off the industrial action.
“He was quoted to have said government had fulfilled its part of the gentleman agreement it entered with ASUU on Nov. 27. He was also quoted to have claimed that payment of the public university lecturers’ salaries being withheld would require presidential clearance due to the prevailing “No work, no pay” rule.
“It is important for Nigerians to note that salaries of lecturers of federal universities, who refused to enrol in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) were stopped in February before they went on strike in March. It should, however, be noted too that IPPIS and salary stoppage were not among the demands of ASUU but was introduced by the government as a distraction,” he noted.
He called on relevant stakeholders, parents and even students to join ASUU in its bid to ensure a better university and education system in the country, rather than see lecturers as bad eggs. Maigoro called on the government to show high of level of sincerity in negotiating with ASUU, insisting that using threats would further aggravate the issue.