The Zonal Coordinator, Lagos Zone of the academic staff union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Olusiji Sowande has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige of being economical with the truth and misinforming the public that the government has been paying the salaries of members of the Union to date.
Prof. Sowande further said the correct position is that the government only paid their salaries up to June 2020 And ASUU members across the country are been owed between three (3) to six (6) months salaries.
The Minister of Labour and Employment (MoL&E), Dr. Chris Ngige had earlier yesterday September 29, 2020 while on a Channels Television programme (Politics Today) made some statements concerning the ongoing FG-ASUU faceoff.
The Minister informed the public that a meeting has been scheduled next week (after independent celebration) for ASUU to demonstrate the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by the Union to the stakeholders at the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education and Minister of Labour and Employment to watch as arbiter.
According to Prof. Olusiji Sowande, “The general public should please note that our Union, over a month ago, had written the minister on our readiness to demonstrate the efficacy and superiority of UTAS over IPPIS and that as at the time of this press release no acknowledgment of receipt of our letter or letter of invitation for a meeting has been received by our Union.
“The Minister also misinformed the public by narrowing down the issues in contention to our rejection of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) which UTAS seeks to replace.” He added.
Prof. Sowande listed other issues in contention for which the Union is currently on strike to include failure of the government to fully implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and February 2019 Memorandum of Action with timelines for the release of funds for the revitalization of dilapidated infrastructure in public Universities, payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances, the conclusion of the renegotiation of 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, setting up of Visitation Panels to Federal Universities and proliferation of State Universities.
He said, “Dr. Chris Ngige was also economical with the truth by misinforming the public that government has been paying the salaries of members of our Union to date. The correct position is that government only paid our salaries up to June 2020. As of today, our members are been owed three (3) months’ salaries while in some Universities our members have not received a salary for six (6) months.
“In addition, the government through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have criminally withheld five months (February-June, 2020) Check-Off deducted from our members’ salaries. We are therefore surprised that MoL&E could go on air to present information that he has not verified as truth to the unsuspecting public.
“The ongoing total, comprehensive, and indefinite strike action by our Union will continue if this propaganda and lies against ASUU persist. The general public and well-meaning Nigerians should prevail on the government to do the needful in ending the current strike action.” He concluded