ASUU Issues Another Strike Warning Over Unpaid Salaries, Dues

•Withheld salaries used to blackmail our members to enroll in IPPIS-President

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has issued a warning over the imminence of a fresh industrial action over an alleged refusal of the federal government to hunour reached prior to the suspension of the last strike action. The warning was issued in Jos on Saturday by the chairman of the University of Jos chapter, Dr Lazarus Maigoro.
Dr. Maigoro, who noted that ASUU may be compelled to down tools again, pointed accusing fingers at the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, for refusing to pay pay the salaries and remit the check-off dues of over 1000 ASUU members for 13 months.
According to Dr. Maigoro, the AGF is defying the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari over IPPIS by insisting that lecturers must go to Abuja for same. The condition, he added, completely negates terms of agreement reached between the union and federal government as brokered by Labour Minister, Senator Chris Ngige.
“Despite the directive given by Mr. President to pay the salaries of all lecturers, the AGF has refused to pay their salaries ranging from four to thirteen months respectively. Many of our members in University of Jos and across the country have not been paid salaries from February 2020 to date.
More worrisome is the fact that while the AGF is refusing to pay these salaries, his staff in the OAGF are busy calling the affected lecturers and insisting they have to register with IPPIS before they are paid. Some are even asked to forfeit a part of their salaries in order to be paid. So it is very clear that this is a deliberate act on the part of the AGF and his staff.”
He noted that the union views the development with exception, warning that in due course, it will soon react appropriately as according to him, the AGM is The AGF is victimising some of our members and also waging a war of attrition against the Nigerian university system and by extension the educational sector.
“The union views this refusal to remit deducted check-off dues as a deliberate attempt at preventing the union from being able to assist those of its members whose salaries have been unduly and illegally withheld thereby forcing them to submit to the underhand tactics of the OAGF and IPPIS. This we believe is also aimed at deliberately frustrating the implementation of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the sophisticated payment platform developed by ASUU and accepted by FGN for implementation.
The AGF is not just victimising some of our members but also waging a war of attrition against the Nigerian university system and by extension the educational sector.
The position of Dr. Maigoro has since been corroborated by ASUU’s national president, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, who accused the Accountant General of fanning embers of disaffection between the union and federal government which he said is capable of reigniting hostilities. According to him, the federal government is still owing lecturers from member branches of salaries ranging from 2 to 16 months.
“As we speak, they are still owing many of our members in many of the branches between two to 16 months salaries without pay by the Accountant-General’s office.”
Prof Osodeke added that apart from deliberately attempting to put a clog on the implementation of the agreement between the union and federal government, the Attorney-General is allegedly employing the unpaid salaries as blackmail weapon to force them to enroll into IPPIS.
“As we speak, they are using that (alleged withholding of salaries) to blackmail our members to enroll into the IPPIS. There are lecturers that they will pay this month, after one or two months they will stop, and all sorts of funny things. We have met with the minister of labour and employment. We even cascaded it to the level of the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, but they (OAGF’s office) seems to be adamant on punishing our members.
…our union has a procedure. When it is time, we know what to do. There is a procedure for embarking on a strike and the union will follow that procedure,” Prof Osodeke pointed out.
When contacted, Labour Minister, Sen Ngige, expressed shock over the new development, insisting that he will find out the details with a view to resolving the seeming impasse.
“I am just hearing that now. The check-off dues issue I think has been sorted out. At some point two weeks ago, they talked about some of their members who were skipped. But I know that the Office of the Accountant General has been looking into that and solving the matter as they occur. When work resumes I will find out.”
Nigeria’s public university lecturers resumed academic business only recently after ending a prolonged faceoff with the federal government over their rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, IPPIS, a payroll software system into which all public officials are mandated to enroll.

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