The union president said the University Transparency and Accountability Decisions (UTAS) were authorized for use by the government.
For the umpteenth time, the leadership of University Teachers Union (ASUU) will meet with Nigerian government officials on Tuesday to possibly finalize negotiations on a revised 2009 agreement, among other issues.
Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ program on Monday, ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke said the Universities Transparency and Accountability (UTAS) was also authorized to be used by the government to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU developed UTAS based on a complaint that the IPPIS introduced by the government to pay the salaries of university workers does not recognize the peculiarities of the university system and that it is full of errors.
Mr. Osodeke said; “The issue of IPPIS and UTAS was postponed because the test was done. With the approval of the Chief of Staff (President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari), UTAS will be implemented to cover all universities,
“If we go to this meeting tomorrow and the government says it is ready to sign what we have agreed, that is fine.”
PREMIUM TIMES also reported that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, will brief on the status of negotiations with the striking universities on Thursday.
Revision of the 2009 agreement and replacement of IPPIS with UTAS are the main demands of the strikers.
A review of the 2009 agreement, previously concluded in May 2021, has not been implemented by the government, but another revised committee has been set up to review the agreement under the chairmanship of Nimmy Briggs, Emeritus Professor.
A committee led by Mr Briggs presented the draft agreement to the government, but the Ministry of Labor and Employment accused ASUU of fixing its wages and rights in the draft, an allegation ASUU denies.
The ASUU president said the content of the draft agreement was proposed by the government.
ASUU is also demanding the release of the presidential teams white paper on university visits and an end to the proliferation of universities, especially by state governments.
ASUU rejects FG claim of lack of funds
Meanwhile, the striking union rejected the government’s claims of a lack of funding for universities, saying the government lacked the will to fund the system.
Mr. Osodeke said; “If you have the will and you believe that education is important, the government will pick up any amount. This is the government that spent 400 billion naira on trader moni. This is the government that said – while we are on strike – it has used 200 billion naira to feed school children, that is more than the welfare fund we are asking for”.
He reminded that in 2018, the trade union gave the government recommendations on the allocation of funds for education at universities.
He said part of the union’s recommendations to the government is the recent GSM tax that the finance ministry is allegedly planning to introduce.
About private universities
Mr. Osodeke, a professor, said the growth of private educational institutions had “depleted” the Nigerian education system.
He said the UTME cut off points for universities used to be at least 180.
He said: “When things were going well in public primary and secondary schools, JAMB never got a cut-off point of less than 180 to 200. Today they give 120 because private people have degraded secondary and primary schools. People cannot resit to enter university. So they will now admit people who failed JAMB into private universities.”
ASUU started a nationwide industrial action on February 14 and continued to extend it as there was no agreement with the government.
On August 1, ASUU announced another extension of the strike for another four weeks.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter for Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which brings together local newsrooms with talented young journalists to report on issues that are not being covered around the world.