The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of Educational and allied institutions, have both said they have yet to receive any message after discussing the 2009 agreements with the Federal Government renegotiation committee.
The Federal Government renegotiation committee, chaired by Pro-chancellor of Alex Ekweme Federal University,Ndufu-Alike, Professor Nimi Briggs, is expected to review the draft proposed 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement and renegotiate with all the striking university unions.
Since April 2022, the Briggs renegotiation committee had been meeting with the unions in the universities who are all currently on strike due to unmet demands of the 2009 agreements signed with the Federal Government.
The national president of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with newsmen, said the Briggs Committee told the union it was waiting for the Federal Government to respond to the reports of the meeting it had so far.
“Yes, we had a meeting with them last week and they have not called us again. All they told us was that they are waiting for their principal, that when their principal responds, they will get back to us,” he said.
Osodeke said they had not gotten invitation for another meeting but lamented that this was the situation since May 2021, “The same way they told us they were waiting for the Federal Government in May 2021 and yet no result.”
Similarly, the national president, SSANU, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, whose union had a meeting with the renegotiation committee, last Friday, said all that was done were appraisals and reviews, adding that the Briggs committee said it was waiting for their ‘masters’ to respond.
“They told us they are waiting for their ‘masters’ we reviewed the meeting and they promised to get back to us when their principal responds. So we are waiting. The strike is still on,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed also said there were erroneous pieces of information on social media that the results of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) had been released.
He added that NITDA had only concluded the test on UTAS and U3PS but no result was announced, revealing that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS)test was ongoing.
The IPPIS was described as a problematic payment platform by the unions in the higher institutions who all complained bitterly about its inconsistency and alleged it was an imported fraudulent platform.
As such, due to IPPIS’ irregularities and short-changing of salaries, ASUU and SSANU created indigenous payment platforms, namely, UTAS and U3PS respectively.
Mohammed said, “The results of the payment platforms as being rumored are not yet out. The committee has finished the UTAS and U3PS tests and they are now on IPPIS.”
The SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks, which commenced midnight of Sunday, March 27,2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced Sunday April 10, 2022 and it is still ongoing.
Some of the demands of SSANU 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.
ASUU commenced its ongoing strike February 14, 2022, after the Federal Government refused to meet some of its demands, including the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers.