The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) has revealed why it acted in accordance with the directive of its national body on strike action.
The institution had earlier stopped academic activities to observe a two-week warning strike initiated by ASUU, thereby disrupting its calendar — in a move that came as the first of its kind over the last 20 years.
Speaking to TheCable Lifestyle on the heels of the development, Moyosore Ajao, chairman of UNILORIN’s ASUU, said the institution couldn’t watch the federal government “destroy” the university system.
ASUU has been at loggerheads with the federal government after President Mohammadu Buhari issued a directive, threatening to stop salaries of its members if they failed to enroll in the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Ajao, who made reference to government-run secondary schools, said public universities can no more compete with other standard institutions outside the country because of poor funding.
According to him, ASUU looks to address some of these challenges through the agreements it had reached but the federal government introduced IPPIS as a “distraction.”
“Our colleagues have been struggling to make sure things are done the way they’re supposed to. But our minister of finance came out to say we’re not going to be paid over the IPPIS issue,” he said.
“Has she not been paid for February? How do we cater for our families if we’re not paid for the work we’ve done? It’s only in Nigeria that such things happen. We’ve been very patient with the federal government.
“They signed a memorandom of action in February last year but have not lived up to it. We’ve been on this issue since 2009.
“These people in governance have destroyed the elementary school. We no longer have functional secondary schools. Now the next step is for them to destroy the universities.
“Private universities are proliferating in the country. Children of the poor are no longer able to go to universities anymore. But they send their children to private universities or outside the country.
“In ASUU, we’re not going to let them destroy the only legacy we can bequeath to our children.”
TheCable had earlier reported how the federal government declared ASUU’s warning strike illegal, adding that the union never gave any mandatory notice to embark on the action.
UNILORIN had, in July 2019, ended a 19-year-old rift between two factions of its ASUU — thereby reintegrating its branch with the union’s national body in a truce pact.
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