The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it will not entertain discussion about halting the ongoing strike if the federal and state governments fail to pay all outstanding arrears owed its members. 

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Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU president, who spoke at the unveiling of the union’s Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), on Tuesday, said the move is key to further negotiations with the federal government over the industrial action.

He said its members at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and the Michael Opera University of Agriculture have not been paid about five months’ salaries over non-registration into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The ASUU president added that thousands of other academics across the universities are suffering the same fate.

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“Thousands of other academics across the Universities are suffering the same fate. So, while we counsel that government at both the federal and state levels must meet the Taskforce specified guidelines for reopening of educational institutions, we insist that all the arrears of the withheld salaries of our members in federal and state Universities must be paid immediately to pave for further discussion on the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action of February 7 2019,” he said.

He noted that since the union has taken concerted steps towards achieving provisions of the IPPIS initiative with the UTAS, ASUU expects the federal government to also reciprocate the gesture by addressing its demands that led to the strike in the first place.

According to him, the UTAS software is now ready for integrity tests as requested by the federal government.

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“It is our sincere hope that the government would not renege on its promise because the benefits of UTAS to the university system (both public and private) cannot be found in any other software in Nigeria today. Now that the union is close to meeting the government’s demand on an alternative to IPPIS, it is our sincere hope that the substantive issues in the ongoing strike action would be given the desired attention,” he added.

The development comes days after the federal government announced it was considering resuming talks with ASUU with a view to ending the ongoing strike.

ASUU had in March declared an indefinite strike, citing the federal government’s failure to meet its demands.

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