Strike actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is not new to many Nigerians. The union has always resorted to strike action as the feasible means to solve the enormous challenges facing the Nigerian educational system.
The reason for the incessant strike can be channeled down to the lip service paid to the educational sector by successive Nigerian governments. There are however specific reasons why the strike action is being embarked on by the lecturers’ union.
The latest strike action embarked on by ASUU has surpassed 2 months and the union announced yesterday that it has extended the strike action for another 3 months. The tussle between the federal government and ASUU has continued to have its toll on university students. This has led to different protests in different parts of the country by the students.
Despite the recurring news of the ASUU-FG brouhaha, there have been varying degrees of misinformation as regards the cause of the ongoing strike action.
The ongoing strike is a roll over from the 2020 strike embarked on by ASUU . ASUU embarked on a roll-over strike from December 2020 to February 14, 2022 when it accused the government of failing to deliver on the agreement that led to the suspension of the strike in 2020.
ODUNEWS.com explains the reasons for the ongoing strike action by the university lecturers below:
- Renegotiation of the ASUU/FG 2009 agreement
The 2009 agreement reached with the Union included conditions of service for university lecturers, funding of universities, university autonomy and academic freedom, and was an adaptation of an earlier agreement reached in 2001.
- Sustainability of the university autonomy
ASUU has also demanded that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) be deployed to replace the government’s “imposed” Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
What is IPPIS and UTAS?
The Nigerian Government in October 2006 introduced the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as one of its reform programmes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.
According to top government staff, the aim was to buttress the government’s commitment to efficient and effective service delivery. “Our main aim is to pay accurately and on time within statutory and contractual regulations. We aim to provide a payroll service that is customer-focused and that utilizes technology wherever possible.”
The goal of IPPIS as a payment system is to enroll into the platform, all the federal government MDAs that draws personnel cost fund from the consolidated revenue fund. Since the inception of the IPPIS project in April 2007, the department has saved the federal government billions of Naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.
In spite of the positive reviews IPPIS has recorded, ASUU has requested for an alternative platform to be used in the country’s university system.
ASUU maintains that the federal government must pull out of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and begin to use the University Transparency, Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform.
According to ASUU, the IPPIS is a foreign policy that does improve the tertiary education system. The lecturers’ job is intellectual unlike other jobs out there. The union claimed that the federal government rejected the UTAS proposed by the lecturers because it was developed by Nigerians.
The union reiterated that ASUU considers the IPPIS payment system as uncongenial with the modus operandi of the university system, given the peculiarities of universities. Insisting that UTAS mode of employment, retirement age, sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements, part-time engagements, contract engagements, and others are concepts that are unique to the university, and obviously alien to IPPIS.
Other reasons for the ASUU strike include:
- Request by ASUU to FG to release the reports of visitation panels to federal universities
- Distortion in salary payments of staff
- Funding for the revitalisation of public university
- Payment of Earned academic allowance
- Poor funding of state universities
- Payment of promotion arrears.