The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday said it might be compelled to embark on another industrial action if the federal government fails to implement the December 22, 2020, Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with it prior to the suspension of the latter’s strike.

The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Fred I. Esumeh, disclosed this in Benin-city at a media briefing while speaking on what a theme: ‘Another Inevitable Round of Crisis in Nigerian Universities’.

Esumeh, who did not disclose when the strike might commence, said they await the decision of the national body to give the directive.

He recalled that a strike was declared on March 23, 2020, over the federal government’s failure to honour the terms of an earlier February 7, 2019, MoA, in which it freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the federal government-ASUU 2009 agreement.

Esumeh added some of the specific issues are the federal government deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university staff, and the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).

Others are the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of the public universities, the unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, the continued non-payment of promotion arrears, the non-payment of withheld salaries and the non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.

The zonal ASUU coordinator maintained that on August 2, 2021, ASUU and the federal government met over the issues listed above with the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC); the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment; the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), and other relevant bodies, all in attendance, where the government team assured ASUU that all the outstanding issues would be fully addressed by on August 31, 2021.

He lamented that up till this moment, the federal government is yet to implement any of the agreements with ASUU.

While reacting to the question that the country is just trying to pick up after the COVID-19 locked down, #EndSARS protest and ASUU strike; and that another round of strike is not necessary, he said the federal government has all it takes to pay up the N40 billion revitalisation fund, and meet ASUU’s needs, noting that they just don’t want to pay considering the billions allegedly siphoned in the country.

The ASUU chief also lamented that state governments are de-marketing state universities with the proliferation of universities, while the existing ones are not properly funded.

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