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ASUU May Resume Strike In Feb, Varsity Unions War Over N40bn

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday indicated that it might resume its suspended strike in February if the Federal Government failed to implement agreements it signed with the lecturers.

The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH in Lagos while shedding more light on the decision of the union to suspend its nine-month strike.

But while ASUU ended its industrial action on Wednesday, non-academic unions in universities threatened to go on strike over N40bn earned allowances government promised to release to all unions.

They described the sharing formula for the money as unfair.

Recall that ASUU had on March 23 begun a nationwide strike over the Federal Government’s insistence that all its employees must register for the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.

Although the government argued that the IPPIS was meant to eliminate fraud, the union stated that it should not be applicable to universities on the grounds that it violated their autonomy.

In the alternative, ASUU developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which it said would meet the peculiarities of universities.

Until Tuesday’s meeting between the two sides, they had disagreed over UTAS, which government said would only be adopted if it tallied with the IPPIS.

Besides its opposition to the IPPIS, other demands of ASUU are setting up of visitation panels for universities, payment of earned academic allowances and revitalisation of infrastructure in the universities.

Ogunyemi, in the interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday evening, said if the government reneged on its promises, members of the union would not hesitate to withdraw their services.

Earlier at a press conference in Abuja, he said the union would as from 12am on Thursday (today) suspend its strike.

The decision to suspend the strike, according to Ogunyemi, was unanimously reached by the National Executive Committee of the union, after considering reports from the national secretariat and various branches.

While assuring Nigerians that ASUU would fulfil its own part of the agreements it reached with the government, Ogunyemi warned that the union would not hesitate to resume its suspended strike should government fail to reciprocate the gesture.

According to him, ASUU is willing to return to classrooms and laboratories to rekindle the aspirations of its members to encourage their students to excel.

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