Negotiations are being stalled by ASUU’s insistence for a 6-month salary the federal government reveals
The federal government’s unwillingness to engage with university lecturers is due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which asked that they be compensated for the six months they had been on strike.
Minister of Education Adamu Adamu gave reporters this information during the weekly ministerial briefing, which was conducted yesterday at the presidential villa and coordinated by the presidential communications staff.
When he handed the report to President Muhammadu Buhari, he claimed that Buhari flatly refused the demand.
With the exception of the demand for members’ salary for the strike period, which Buhari has categorically refused, all contentious matters between the government and ASUU had been resolved, he claimed.
The minister claimed that the academics, who are anticipated to end the strike, have been informed of the president’s stance.
According to him, the denial was made in order to rein in trade union excesses that demand payment for services that aren’t rendered.
Adamu claimed that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which the lecturers are fighting against, has been outperformed by the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment system offered by ASUU.
Additionally, he said that IPPIS had been upgraded to now permit payment of those who are on sabbatical.
“I was only aware of one thing: even the existing IPPIS was designed to support sabbatical. I was unaware of this. I was just told by someone,” Adamu said.
The academics had charged that the federal government’s IPPIS failed to take into account the unique characteristics of higher institutions.
However, Adamu refuted the claim that the government had not given the go-ahead for UTAS to serve as the platform for paying university teachers.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU), and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), he claimed, have accepted the government’s new salary proposal in principle and are currently consulting with their members in preparation for ending the strike within the next month.
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), on the other hand, was praised by the speaker for ending its own strike.
He said that in comparison to the N1.2 trillion that ASUU is requesting, the federal government has invested over N2.5 trillion in tertiary education over the last ten years.
The minister added that ASUU, not the federal government, is in charge of making up for the time lost by the six-month strike for students.
Adamu advised the impacted students to “take ASUU to court” in order to seek compensation for losses experienced during the strike.
He said the federal government bears no liability to compensate millions of students grounded for six months over lost time, saying if the students are determined to get compensated, they should take ASUU to court.
The minister emphasized the need for the general public to understand that “the federal government is paying the salaries of every employee at its tertiary institutions, academic and non-academic staff, while these institutions are also in full control of their internally generated money” (IGR).
“We are exerting every effort to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. Our campuses will hopefully see enduring industrial harmony as a result of the renegotiations. In the meanwhile, I am confident that the ongoing efforts would provide the intended outcomes and send our kids back to school.
Additionally, Adamu urged action against those who engage in examination fraud, which he claimed had been exposed as a cartel.
To “crack down on examination misconduct,” he urged the examiners to collaborate closely with law enforcement.
He asserts that the ministry still battles misconduct committed both at the tests council and school levels despite attempts to improve the integrity of the examination system in schools across the nation.
The minister also said the Buhari administration has spent a total of N6,003,947,848,237 in capital and recurrent expenditure in the education sector in the last seven years.
He said this was in addition to interventions from TETFund and UBEC, amounting to N2.5 trillion and N553,134,967,498 respectively in capital investment.
He noted:- “We must also note and appreciate the huge investments from States and the private sector at all levels of our educational system. We will continue to improve on the implementation of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) all through to 2023 for the overall development of the education sector and the Nigerian nation.
“We will continue to create the necessary enabling environment to attract more and more private sector investment. We shall hand over a better education sector than we met.”
Adamu said the number of out of school children has dropped from an estimated 13 million to 6.9 million, with an impressive enrollment from online states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers and Ebonyi.
He linked the increased enrollment to activities of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA).