The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to pay its members’ withheld salary arrears to pave way for further discussions on the outstanding issues of 2019 Memorandum of Action.
The union President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made the call at a news conference in Abuja.
Ogunyemi said five months’ salaries of ASUU members in some universities were still withheld by the Accountant General of the Federation over non-registration on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He said thousands of other academics across the universities are suffering the same fate, adding this is not in the interest of the nation’s educational sector.
Ogunyemi said: “We counsel that the government at both the Federal and state levels to meet the Taskforce specified guidelines for re-opening of educational institutions.
“We insist that all the arrears of the withheld salaries of our members in the Federal and state universities must be paid immediately to pave way for further discussions on outstanding issues of 2019 Memorandum of Action.
“As we have continually stated in recent weeks, our demands in the ongoing strike action pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic or even the resurgence of government’s insistence on the migration of lectures to the IPPIS platform.
“However, we view the federal government’s failure to acknowledge the trajectories which brought our universities to their knees and deprived them of capacity to respond to national challenges.”
The ASUU chief also called for more funding for the health sector to avert the challenges workers go through, especially as the world battled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also condemned the removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) by the governing council chaired by Dr. Wale Babalakin, saying that due process was not followed.
He added: “We are shocked not because we regard Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogunndipe as a saint but for the fact that all available evidence indicates that he was not taken through the due process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Babalakin should be reminded that the knowledge of procedures and process for appointment and removal of Vice-Chancellors is not the exclusive preserve of legal luminaries.”