Ngige Misinformed Nigerians About Our Strike – ASUU

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The Lagos Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has faulted Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige’s claims that the union was on strike because of its anger against the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and that lecturers were being paid in full, despite the strike.

The union also said it had not been informed of a meeting next week where Ngige said ASUU would be allowed to demonstrate its purpose-built University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software as a replacement for the IPPIS.

In a statement, the Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, said the union had requested to present how UTAS works but got no response from the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

He said: “The attention of our union has been drawn to the comments of the Minister of Labour and Employment (MoL&E), Dr. Chris Ngige, on a Channels Television programme (Politics Today) aired on September 29, 2020.

“The minister informed the public that a meeting has been scheduled for next week (after Independence celebration) for our union to demonstrate the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by our union to the stakeholders at the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education and Minister of Labour and Employment to watch as arbiter.

“The general public should please note that our union, over a month ago, had written the MoL&E of our readiness to demonstrate the efficacy and superiority of UTAS over IPPIS and that as at the time of this press release no acknowledgement of receipt of our letter or letter of invitation for meeting has been received by our union.”

Sowande also said the main reason for the current strike was the non-implementation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and non-payment of earned allowances, among others.

“The minister also misinformed the public by narrowing down the issues in contention to our rejection of IPPIS, which UTAS seeks to replace. Other issues in contention, for which our union is currently on total, comprehensive and indefinite strike, include failure of government to fully implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and February 2019 Memorandum of Action with timelines for release of funds for the revitalisation of dilapidated infrastructure in public Universities, payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances, conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, setting up of Visitation Panels to Federal universities and proliferation of state universities,” he said.

On salaries, Sowande said many lecturers were being owed between three and six months’ salaries, while five months’ worth of check-off deducted from members’ salaries was yet to be remitted to the union.