As negotiation between the federal government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, lingers, the Union has reiterated that they will not called off the seven months old strike until all the issues in contention are adequately addressed to avoid a future industrial action in an event all the issues on the negotiation table are not met.
This is as the union accused the federal government of using the seizure of salaries as a hunger weapon against its members for refusal to migrate to the contentious Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System, IPPIS.
Addressing newsmen shortly after its meeting at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State yesterday, Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Port Harcourt Zone, Professor Uzo Onyebiama, called on parents and students to join ASUU in the struggle to redeem the university system and future of Nigerian youths, insisting that the demands of ASUU was not about the welfare of its members but for the revamping of university education in the country.
Professor Onyebiama, who was flanked by ASUU chairperson NDU, Dr. Kingdom Tonbara, ASUU chairperson UNIPORT, Austen Sado, ASUU chairperson, Federal University Otouke, Emmanuel Akpan, and ASUU chairperson Ignatius Aturu University of Education, Endurance Joseph, said the IPPIS will remove the autonomie of universities and install it in the hands of the accountant general of the federation.
He said: “IPPIS has become an obnoxious instrument for stripping the Governing Councils of Universities of their powers and their responsibilities and removing the hard won autonomies of universities. The issue of autonomy is critical to the survival of our universities as institutions for intellectual freedom and development of our dear country.
“The purported directive of Mr President and the subsequent circulars to the Vice Chancellors on enrollment on IPPIS using the seizure of salaries as a hunger weapon and the compulsorily change of effective date of annual salary increment of salaries of academic staff from October 1 to January 1 are by these provisions illegal as such null and void.
“IPPIS ensures that the Governing Councils of Universities are no longer free to discharge their functions and exercise their responsibilities and can no longer ensure that disbursement of universities funds comply with the approved budgetary ratio for personnel cost, overhead cost, etc.
“In the light of these threats inherent in the enrollment of academic staff in IPPIS, our Union cannot afford to quietly lie low, we as a union of intellectuals have a sacred responsibility to alert Nigerians about this calamity called IPPIS, which has been hoisted on the universities.
“We hereby call on parents including academic staff and students to take up the gauntlet and join this struggle to redeem our universities and the future of Nigerian youths. We will remain in this struggle until the issues in contention are adequately addressed.”