By Iyabo Lawal
There appears to be no end in sight to the industrial strike action by university teachers as the national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said they are yet to hear from the government, after meeting with Prof. Nimi Briggs renegotiation committee. The committee was expected to review the draft proposed 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement and renegotiate with all the striking unions.Since April 2022, the Briggs renegotiation committee had been meeting with the unions to address the thorny issues in the 2009 agreement. But in a recent interview, Osodeke said they were yet to hear from the Federal Government on the report of the meetings so far. He said: “Since our meeting with the Briggs committee, the government has not called us for any feedback. All the committee told us was that they are waiting for their principal to respond, that once the Federal Government responds, they will get back to us.”
Osodeke said they had not got the invitation for another meeting and nothing was happening for now. He lamented that this had been the situation since May 2021, “the same way they told us they were waiting for the FG and yet no result.” Similarly, the national president, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Ibrahim Mohammed, said all they have done were appraisals and reviews, while the Briggs committee said it would report to the Federal Government for the next line of action.
While ASUU commenced strike on February 14, SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks, which commenced on March 27. Some of the demands of SSANU include the inconsistent issue of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and allied institutions (NASU) 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. ASUU’s demands include the release of revitalization funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the Universities Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS) for payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.