As students await reopening of Federal Government-owned tertiary institution, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has reeled out how the apex government’s decision on their members’ welfare packages had continued to keep academic activities at the varsities inactive since March.
ASUU alleged that the decision to insist lecturers undergo Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) processes before migrating to University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) further indicated the government was not ready to honour existing agreements.
The National President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, who spoke to newsmen on Monday, accused federal government of manipulating and for inability of the union members to return to duty.
Ogunyemi added that the government of playing a game of deception and that it had failed to show commitment to resolving the impasse.
“What we need is a commitment; there is nothing like transition and what we are saying, in essence, is that government should just go ahead and pay what government has withheld – the salaries of our members; people have not been paid for eight or nine months on account of not registering on IPPIS.
“Government should stop this arm-twisting and manipulation, going back to universities to ask them to go and enroll in IPPIS so that they will go and migrate to UTAS; people see it as a game of deception and we cannot trust them,” he said.
According to him, it is not the place of the union to tell the government where to generate funds to address its challenges, particularly tertiary institutions.
He stressed the need for the government to show more commitment to the ongoing negotiations in order to ensure lecturers and students return to the classroom.
The ASUU president also highlighted some of the vital roles the union has played in ensuring public universities do not become a history in the country.
He stated that if not for the union’s effort, the fate of public universities in Nigeria would have been just like that of the primary and secondary schools.
“Each time people talk about this problem has been there for long, they don’t also appreciate the solution we have brought to the system to keep the system going. But for ASUU’s intervention, we would no longer have public universities today. Do we still have public primary schools? Do we still have public secondary schools? That is what will happen to public universities,” Ogunyemi said.