The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again threatened to embark on another industrial action six months after calling off its nine-month strike.
According to the union, the Federal Government is owing over 1,000 members of the union 13 month salaries.
Chairman, ASUU, University of Jos (UNIJOS) chapter, Dr. Lazarus Maigoro disclosed this in a statement.
According to Maigoro, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris has refused to comply with the agreement made with the federal government during the last industrial action.
Recall that ASUU in March last year had embarked on an industrial action over the failure of the federal government to pay the arrears of its members.
Among other concerns, ASUU had asked the government to exempt its members from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) pending the approval of the proposed payment system – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) favoured by the union.
However, six months after suspending the strike, ASUU has accused Idris of systematically denying some lecturers who actively participated in the last strike of their remuneration, even after government and the union had reached an agreement on non-victimisation of its members following their last strike.
According to the chairman, some members of the union were threatened to either enrol into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform or have their salaries withheld.
Maigoro also noted that the issuance of a public statement became necessary following the insulations by the office of the AGF and some sections of government, saying the reasons for the unpaid salaries include; incorrect BVN numbers; incorrectly spelt names and their sequential arrangement, among others.
The statement reads: “ASUU wants to bring to the attention of the Nigerian public the deliberate, systematic and unpatriotic actions of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, on the future of education in Nigeria.
”Idris, from all intent and purposes, is bent on withholding the salaries of over 1,000 members of ASUU spread across the country, with more than 100 of such lecturers being members of our branch at the University of Jos.
“This is simply because they participated in the last strike and refused to enrol in the much discredited IPPIS, despite the non-victimisation clause signed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) that led to the suspension of the strike in December 2020.
“Despite the directive given by Mr President to pay the salaries of all lecturers, the AGF has refused to pay their salaries, for periods ranging from four to thirteen months, respectively.
”More worrisome is the fact that while the AGF is refusing to pay the salaries, his staff are busy calling the affected lecturers and insisting they have to register with IPPIS before they are paid; some are even asked to forfeit a part of their salaries in order to be paid. So, it is very clear that this is a deliberate act on the part of the AGF and his staff.
“Many of our members at the University of Jos have not been paid salaries from February 2020 to date. How they are expected to go to the classroom and teach beats my imagination.
“It is not news, that our union have vowed to fight back at any cost in order to salvage our colleagues from his tyranny and unpatriotic act against not just ASUU members, but the future of education in Nigeria and so, if nothing is urgently done, we will be forced to take action,” Maigoro said.
“The union has gotten to a stage where it may be forced to take drastic measures to save the lives and families of its members because their despair is also our collective despair.
“Apart from the refusal to pay the salaries of our members, the lack of payment of allowances of sabbatical, visiting, part-time, contract staff is further killing the federal universities in Nigeria, and this is all because of IPPIS.
“We hope that whatever decision the union takes, will not be misconstrued by the Nigerian public, especially seeing the seeming silence of the public and the government over the complete violation of our 2020 MoA,” he added.