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NASU, SSANU issue two weeks ultimatum

By Collins Olayinka, Abuja 
23 January 2021   |   3:32 am
Public universities in the country may not be out of the woods yet, despite the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) calling off its 10-month long strike action, as their non-teaching counterparts have given the Federal Government 14 days ...

Peters Adeyemi

• To Begin Strike Feb 5, Accuse FG Of Fostering Corruption In Universities
• Want Varsities To Supervise Payment Of Allowances 

Public universities in the country may not be out of the woods yet, despite the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) calling off its 10-month long strike action, as their non-teaching counterparts have given the Federal Government 14 days to initiate the implementation of agreement reached with them or risk total strike from Friday, February 5. 

Spokesperson of the Joint Action Committee of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Peters Adeyemi, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, accused the Federal Ministry of Education of monumental fraud in the release of earned allowances to the universities. 

Adeyemi explained that the ministry officials departed from the norm of releasing funds to the bursaries of various universities that coordinate how much is owed each university and then pay each staffer, as against the new system that simply allocates in percentages to unions without verifying the beneficiaries of the funds.

He stated: “When the first tranche of earned allowances were released in 2013, it was released to the bursary of the universities, which then compute all what is owed individuals and paid them directly.

“But now, the Federal Ministry of Education officials released the fund to unions in the universities. How do you determine what is owed university A and B? What are the yardsticks used to disburse the money? What accountability steps have been put in place to ensure the right people were paid and the right amount was paid?

“The Federal Government by so doing is promoting corruption in the universities.” Handing down the strike notice, Adeyemi, who is the General Secretary of NASU, revealed that the action was taken by members of the two unions at branch level, explaining that 90 per cent of NASU members voted in support of the strike and 10 per cent were against. He added that 83 per cent of SSANU members voted in support of the resolution, 11 per cent were against, while six per cent were indifferent. 

“It is in line with the resolution of our members nationwide that the leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU hereby resolve that members shall embark on an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, February 5.

“Two weeks’ notice, effective from today (yesterday), January 22 is hereby given to government and relevant stakeholders of this development.”
Adeyemi stated that the two unions would not give further notice before embarking on the industrial action.

He accused the Federal Government of paying lip service to education, research and development, saying the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last October was a ploy to coy the unions into suspending the threat of strike and not out of genuine love to arrest the failing standard of education in the country. 

He listed the contentious issues to include inconsistencies in IPPIS payment; non-payment of Earned Allowances; non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage; delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements; non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members; teaching staff usurping headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures; neglect and poor funding of state universities and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities. He lamented that some members of the union have not received their salaries in the last one year owing to the inefficiency of IPPIS, adding:

“The October 2020 MoU had resolved that a committee would be set up to look into the complaints of NASU and SSANU with a view to correcting the anomalies identified with IPPIS.

“The IPPIS also agreed to liaise with the unions and the various institutions to identify staff who have been captured, but not receiving salaries and pay them without delay.

“IPPIS also agreed to correct all identified anomalies in respect of third-party deductions, such as unions dues, cooperative societies contributions, etc.

“It was resolved that all the above would be looked into within a time frame of two weeks.

“You will agree with us that over 12 weeks have elapsed since October 12, 2020 and the situation has not changed. We have members who have not received salaries since IPPIS started payments about a year ago. We also have members whose salaries have been in percentages of what they should be on account of IPPIS.

“Those members are agitated and it would be irresponsible for the leadership to treat their plights with levity on account of their keying into a government approved platform. They have a moral justification to be angry, and so do we,” Adeyemi explained. 

On his part, National President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim, dispelled the misunderstanding of what constitute earned allowances, saying it is wrong to assume that the earned allowances are peculiar only to academic work. 

He said: “We have been hearing of this insinuation that earned allowances are about academic work. That is far from the truth. Works that are rendered, such as responsibility allowance, hazards allowances, overt time, shits are all part of earned allowances.

‘If the non-academic staffers are not entitled to it, they won’t be given, because the Federal Government is not a Father Christmas. All the allowances are captured in our 2009 agreement.” 

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