Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have accused the Federal Government of plotting to commercialize and destroy public universities.
Speaking during a protest by lecturers of the University of Port Harcourt over the half salaries they were paid for the month of October, the Port Harcourt zonal coordinator of ASUU, Dr. Stanley Ogoun urged everybody to support ASUU in the crusade to make university education qualitative and accessible in the country.
Ogoun said all over the world, citizens hold government to account for their actions and Nigeria cannot be different. He said ASUU’s fight is to ensure that education is standardized.
He stated that the protest was in line with the national ASUU directive, noting that it was being held simultaneously in all chapters of ASUU in the Port Harcourt zone.
The University of Port Harcourt chairman of ASUU, Dr. Darlington Chima, said the lecturers would not accept the half pay that the Federal Government offered because it is a calculated attempt to casualize lecturing.
Addressing a special congress before the protest, Chima said ASUU will not allow the Federal Government to kill the public universities the way it did with public secondary and primary schools.
He argued that the job of a lecturer went beyond teaching and included research and Community service, pointing out that while the eight-month strike lasted, lecturers were engaged in research and community service and should therefore be paid their full salaries.
He warned that lecturers would return to the strike if Federal Government failed to settle the eight months salary arrears.
Chima explained the lecturers’ grouse with the Federal Government was the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement it entered with the union, which extended to the breach of Memorandum of Action (MOA) of 2020, a product of the renegotiated 2009 agreement.
The demands of ASUU, he said, included the revitalization of Nigerian universities, deployment of Universal Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) in place of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) demands, he said the Federal Government has refused to address.
The nationall investment secretary of ASUU and immediate past cchairman of ASUU, UNIPORT cchapter, Dr Austen Sado argued that ASUU members are not daily paid workers to warrant their being paid half salary.
According to him, if the Federal Government finally succeeds in emasculating ASUU, it will go after other unions, including students’ union, which, he said must not be allowed to happen.
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