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No Response From Federal Govt, Says ASUU

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Ultimatum: No response from Federal Govt, says ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday said the ultimatum it issued in July did not elicit any response from the Federal Government.

The National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Oshodeke, in an interview with one of our correspondents, stated that government had not implemented the agreement it reached with the union nor responded to the ultimatum.

The union had on July 19 issued a fresh ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay the outstanding 10-month arrears of its members’ salaries or be prepared for another industrial action.

The union gave government till August 31 to meet its demands including the resolution of issues relating to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform.

Between September 10 and September, 2021, all ASUU zones across the country held press conferences calling on the government to implement their demands.

They also asked Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible if the university lecturers embarked on another strike.

Responding to enquiries on Tuesday, ASUU president said, “Nothing yet, not a single response from the government. For now, we are in Abuja we are meeting soon. No single response from the government. We are meeting this weekend in Abuja. We want to see what we can do between now and Friday to see them. Despite the letter we wrote to them and the press conferences, they are not bothered because nothing is at stake for them.”

The union had accused the government of not implementing the agreement it signed with lecturers in December 2020.

In March 2020, ASUU embarked on a strike action following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities, the IPPIS, implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution, funding and revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, promotion arrears and renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement

ASUU had several meetings with government over UTAS and all the above issues were approved with a promise of prompt implementation.

The Federal Government’s assurance of implementation, which was accompanied with the signing of a Memorandum of Action led to the call off of the strike on December 24, 2020 after government also agreed to exclude ASUU from IPPIS.

Speaking at the ASUU-Lagos zone press conference, zonal coordinator, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, said the arrogance with which government had continued to wish away the collective sacrifice of their members, students and parents on the struggles was frustrating.

Odukoya said government’s failure to ensure prompt renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement had consciously “sentenced” ASUU members “to agonising poverty, encouraged brain drain and criminally promoted falling standard of education in the country.”

FG not shunning ASUU, says minister
But in his response, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, denied claims by ASUU that the Federal Government had been shunning its leadership.

The minister, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said there was no way ASUU leaders would reach out the government and nobody would attend to them.

On some of the demands made by ASUU in its ultimatum issued to the government which has elapsed, Nwajiuba insisted that the National Universities Commission was working on them and announcement would be made once the assignment had been completed.

He said, “No one is shunning ASUU. Ask them who they reached out to. I picked your call, didn’t I?

“We have already said the NUC is working on the issues with the universities, once they are done, they will issue a statement.

“There is no way ASUU will reach out and nobody will attend to them.

“The message is simple. The NUC is working on the issues raised, the moment they are done, a statement will be issued to let everybody be aware of the situation on the ground.

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Education

NUT faults sacking of 2,357 teachers by Kaduna govt

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NUT faults sacking of 2,357 teachers by Kaduna govt

The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has faulted the sacking of 2,357 teachers by the Kaduna State government allegedly failing a competence test organised by the government.

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the NUT at a meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, lamented decision of the Kaduna State Government to sack teachers, including its National President, Audu Amba, who was also affected in the mass dismissal.

In a communique released at the end of the meeting, the NUT Deputy National President, Kelvin Nwankwo, said the sack which came following the refusal by Amba and some teachers to write the competency test, was unacceptable to the union.

“It is pertinent to state that the Kaduna State Government’s purported Competency Test was held during the pendency of Suit No NICN/54/2021 before the National Industrial Court, Kaduna Division.

“Furthermore, the purported dismissal of 2,357 teachers was done during the pendency of another Motion on Notice,” the NUT statement said.

“We are teachers and best suited to know the concept of test administration which is a settled and accepted tool for the assessment of the performance of a learner in his or her educational career.

“However, this lofty tool has been maliciously bastardised and abused in Kaduna State. It has been deployed as an instrument of vendetta targeted at labour leaders who dared to perform their statutory and historical role of advocating the advancement of the welfare of teachers.

“The National Executive Council (NEC) of our great Union in good faith had in accordance with international best practices in the teaching profession, advocated that the Kaduna State Government should rather embark on a continuous teacher training programme.

“It is very sad and curious that the dismissal letter relative to the NUT President was in the public domain via the social media even when it has not been served on him.

“The intention clearly is to intimidate the NUT President and embarrass the teachers in Nigeria.

“The union will continue to perform its historical role of defending the rights of teachers in Nigeria and no amount of anti labour policies of the Kaduna State Government and elsewhere can diminish this resolve.

“The NUT family reaffirms its commitment to stand with its revered president, Comrade Audu Titus Amba, and all the teachers in Kaduna State,” the communique said.

 

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Education

FG Continues Talks With ASUU As Strike Enters Fourth Month

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FG Continues Talks With ASUU As Strike Enters Fourth Month

The Federal Government has continued its negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as the strike by the lecturers enters its fourth month.

A meeting between the striking lecturers and the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee, however, ended without a concrete agreement as members planned to reconvene within 24 hours to consider a draft agreement.

Talks between both parties were held on Monday at the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A senior member of the union who attended the meeting told The Harmattan News that they reached some agreements with the Federal Government, but members had to break and reconvene within 24 hours to consider the new terms in the draft agreement.

The Federal Government set up the committee led by Professor Briggs on March 7 with a three-month mandate to renegotiate the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government agreement.

The government had tasked the committee to ensure the renegotiation brings an end to the ongoing industrial action by the university lecturers.

Three months after it was inaugurated, the committee met with the lecturers but also failed to reach a final agreement that could end the strike that has crippled academic activities across government-owned universities.

ASUU embarked on a nationwide strike on February 14 over the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as the payment system in the university sector.

Members also decried the poor funding of universities, non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, as well as the inability of the government to pay earned academic allowance to lecturers, among other issues.

Since the industrial action began, several negotiations between the union and the government have ended in deadlock – a situation that was condemned by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

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Education

Talks with FG panel over strike fruitless – SSANU

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Talks with FG panel over strike fruitless – SSANU

The Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has said no tangible achievement was recorded at the Federal Government Renegotiation Panel.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, the National Vice-President, SSANU, Dr. Abdussobur Salaam, said the panel met only once with SSANU since it was inaugurated on March 7, 2022.

The Harmattan News had reported that the committee, which was chaired by the Pro-Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Prof. Nimi Briggs, was given three months to conclude the renegotiation with the four university unions and send the report to Federal Government.

The committee’s timeline ended on Monday.

It is believed that the committee will submit its report to the Federal Government this week or get an extension.

But Salaam explained that the Briggs committee’s engagements with SSANU had been minimal and the timeline was not being adhered to.

He said, “Within the three months timeline, SSANU has only had one meeting with the Briggs renegotiation team. The meeting was held on Friday, April 8, 2022. Today, being June 7, makes it exactly two months ago.

“At the meeting, nothing tangible was put on the table. No offer was made by the government, particularly on improved conditions of service and welfare of our members.

“The government’s side seems not to be sure of itself and groping in the dark as far as its mandate is concerned.

“As of now, we have no reason to express satisfaction because even the paces of the discussions have been too slow. If it has taken two months after the first meeting with SSANU and no meeting has been called, it gives room to doubt the willingness and capacity of the committee to deliver on its mandate.”

He suggested that the panel be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government.

Salaam said, “The Committee should be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government. To be breathed down upon by government officials as the engagements with the committee suggest is not good for confidence building. They should show that they have a mandate to commit on behalf of the government.

“Similarly, the committee appears not to take cognisance of the timelines in the discharge of its assignment. Whatever the bottlenecks militating against the timelines should be removed.

“If we have only had one meeting within the three months timeline with nothing tangible being put on the table, it leaves much to be desired and it is highly unfortunate.”

When our correspondent contacted Briggs on the telephone for reactions on SSANU’s complaints and other issues, he declined comment, saying, “I don’t react to anything on telephone.”

SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced on March 27, 2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday, April 10, 2022.

The union’s demands include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.

Others include neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members of the unions, and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, among others.

 

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