Members of ASUU, Bauchi Zonal branch
By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi
As the eight months strike action embarked upon by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) lingers on, the union has alleged that the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris is the stumbling block to amicable resolution of the problem.
The Union therefore declared that, “enough is enough with the slippery posture of the Federal Government in resolving the problem”.
The allegation on the AGF was made by the Bauchi Zonal Branch of ASUU on Wednesday slighting the Federal Government for not being truthful in the quest to end the crisis declaring that,”The government is full of blame gaming rather than taking a definite stand in amicable resolution of the problem”
Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Professor Lawal Garba Abubakar while briefing Journalists restated the determination of the members not to return to the classroom until FG honour the various memoranda of understanding and agreement entered into with the Union because government is a continuation.
He added that the agreement is for yearly release of the sum of N220b yearly for the development of the 93 Federal Universities across the country saying that, “ASUU has even stepped it down to N110b but yet government is dilly dalling”.
He also said that the Federal Government, through the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) office has stopped the salaries of ASUU Members, citing non-enrollment onto the IPPIS Platform.
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator said tha, “Since then, our Members are being owed between 4 to 5 months of salaries after mischievous and erroneous attempt to pay. This was the second issue, deliberately introduced by Government”
He asked that, “Why has Government continued to renege on the Agreements. Mous ond MoAs? The answers to this question are simple, clear and I think, include among others: Abdication of responsibility by government officials borne out of wicked motive, those in the position of power simply take exception to giving this important service to the common man who perpetually remains where he or she, unable to take care of his or her responsibilities, and always looking up to the elites for his or her daily needs, not minding being manipulated. b. Intention of Government to commercialise and privatise University Education”.
He added that, “Having finished with Public Primary and Secondary Education, Government sees proper funding of University Education as being counter productive to its Privatisation Policy, In addition, funding Public Universities would put the existing Private Universities, majorly owned by people in Government, out of business”.
ASUU further said that The two other models of guaranteeing the business at the Private Universities are: Sole charging of high tuition fees which reduce patronage at the unstable Public Universities for increased patronage at the Private Universities – this effect could be minimal as only a few might afford the fees.
It Also berated the government for Charging of high tuition fees and provision of loans by an Education Bank for access by the students saying that, “The catastrophic end result of this model could deadly as the students may spend their entire work lives servicing such a loan or may end up without a paying job that would guarantee the loan repayment – depression and subsequent suicide cases characteristic of South America, where this has been tested, would set in”.
ASUU added that it has already taken exceptions to all of these models because Nigeria has enough resources to provide Education to its citizens and that is what ASUU is insisting on funding of the university system.
It observed that, “People in Government positions do not have any stake in public Universities in the country With their children and other family relations in Universities outside the country, these people are not keen at committing Government resources in Public Universities. They do not core having the Universities closed for so many months, “After all not every Nigerian must have a University Degree,” they used to say:
It explained that Architects of Foot-Dragging of the Current Negotiation Process When between Monday, 12 to Thursday, 15th October, 2020 Government frantically engaged ASUU, seemingly looking to resolve the seven-month old Strike, every Nigerian thought that Government was genuinely serious.
“With the then #ENDSARS Protest over, Government is appearing not interested in engaging ASUU, therefore being responsible for prolonging the Strike and wasting Students’ time and their Parents’ meagre resources. The sole Architect of stalling and retarding the resolution process is none other than the AGF as he kept insisting that ASUU Members must enrol onto IPPIS before he would be able to poy their withheld Salaries and any other subsequent payment”, it alleged.
ASUU is asking, “How were we paid before IPPIS? How were some of us, that were picked at random, paid their salaries recently? How were our members at UNABUJA got their January Salary Shortfall last week And so on. We are NOT enrolling on IPPIS!
The AGF should understand that our searchlights are currently on him, and that we are going to take on him, past, present and future, He is hereby warned to stop wasting people’s time henceforth
It concluded that, “To the Government officials negotiating with us, we say: “Enough of these Slippery Offers!” Enough of the antics and deceits!! And whenever you say you cre “going back to your principals,” we want to see you to be doing just that, if you really have any “Principalslll”
ASUU, Bauchi Zone further called on Government officials to salvage the plight of the students and their parents by respecting, honouring and implementing Agreements it entered with ASUU saying, “We also call on students, their parents, Civil Society Organisations and the general public to continue to understand and support ASUU in this struggle for the rescue of the Nigerian Public University System”.