William Attah, Gombe
The Coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bauchi zone, Professor Lawan G Abubakar has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently intervene and bring to an end the strike action by the union.
Professor Abubakar who stated this during a press conference shortly after the zonal meeting of the union held at the Gombe State University said, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has dismally failed in his efforts to bring the nine months old strike to an end.
ASUU Bauchi zone comprises University of Jos; Gombe State University; Plateau State University; Federal University Kashere, Gombe State; Bauchi State University and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
Professor Abubakar said, series of meetings, engagements and contacts between ASUU leadership and Federal Government officials have not yielded the desired results because the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Alhaji Ahmed Idris have continued to throw spanners in the wheel of progress of such concerted efforts aimed at amicable resolution of the impasse.
He said, while the Minister has continued to exhibit all manner of antics and insisting that Government does not have money to educate its citizens, the AGF has continued to greedily and selfishly count on the gains of the N16,000 per enrollment of each academic staff he would have made, thereby insisting that ASUU members enroll on the only payment platform he has now, that is the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to him, the strike action is not all about salary increment but that the Federal Government had continuously failed to implement several agreements, MoU’s, MoA’s that are aimed at rehabilitating and improving learning conditions in the 93 public Universities in the country.
He said, “there was a truce between ASUU and Federal Government that led to the suspension of an ASUU strike on the 7th February 2019 called the FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) which collapsed and led to the current strike.
“The responsibility for such a collapse rests squarely on Dr. Chris Ngige. The Minister simply went to sleep and failed to manage the MoA and worst still has not deemed it right to accept this failure and apologize to Nigerians for such mess”, he stated.
He said, the recent insult Ngige has meted on Nigerians over the ASUU strike was that Government does not have money to give ASUU N110b and that they would explore other options of ending the strike if ASUU remains adamant.
” Let me first of all clarify that the N110b is not for ASUU. It is for the rehabilitation of the 93 public Universities in Nigeria for now. What will the N20b flicked by Government through Ngige do to 93 Universities? Are they going to buy groundnuts? How would Federal Government provide N37b for the rehabilitation of the National Assembly last year and only N20b for 93 Universities this year? How can the public believe that the Federal Government does not have money to fund the rehabilitation of 93 Universities but still raising N389b to prosecute Boko Haram in 2021?” the academician queried.
The zone, he said, will not take the insult lightly because for Ngige to be sure that the strike would end this week without any concrete offers indicated that there is a sinister move to crush the ASUU struggle. “We are strategically, tactically and physically ready for such sinister move”, he said.
“The 2019 MoA has not been honoured, and by implication the 2017 MoA, the 2013 MoU and the 2009 agreement have not been honoured let alone implemented. The strike is not all about salary payment and payment platforms as Government has attempted to reduce it to”, he wondered.
He called on students, parents, civil society organisations and the general public to continue to understand and join forces with ASUU in its struggle for the emancipation of the Nigerian public University system by insisting that Government has the resources and should commit such resources to adequately fund public University Education.