By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, has warned the Federal Government of a looming industrial action over the non-fulfilment of its 2009 Agreement with the union.
The Owerri Zone of ASUU in a press conference held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and addressed by its zonal coordinator, Mr Uzo Onyebinama, said it was shameful that the federal government had deliberately decided to jettison the more acceptable means of payment: Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Onyebinama in the press conference attended by leaders of the union at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Imo State University, Owerri; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, said the use of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the Federal Government had shut out some lecturers from receiving their salaries for as long as 10 months.
‘Today, while we were holding our zonal meeting, a lecturer came to us to complain that for 10 months now he had not received his salary. It is still a wonder to us that the federal government decided against using UTAS, despite having been subjected to all manner of tests and had scaled through.
‘We have called you all here to tell you that we are saddened that having reached the end of the tunnel, we couldn’t find any light. The agents of the federal government have reneged from implementing the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement.
‘As we speak, the Federal Government is in arrears of major components of the agreement and that includes funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, and the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement,’ he said.
The union said the introduction of IPPIS further compounded their woes as it resulted in mutilated salaries, promotion arrears, and the non-resolution of the more favoured UTAS.
Onyebinama said the consequence of the Federal Government’s refusal to implement the 2009 agreement was that the union had resolved to go on an indefinite strike any moment, adding that once it began, it would not stop until all agreements were fulfilled.
‘We are being driven once again by the intransigence of the agents of the federal government of Nigeria to once again truncate teaching and research activities in our universities nationwide.