The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, has said the union will have a meeting with the Federal Government to address its ongoing strike action, today.

The PUNCH had reported that since the end of the renegotiation meeting led by Prof. Nimi Briggs, the government had not made effort to discuss their decision with the union’s executives.

Likewise, after the submission of the ASUU report by the Briggs committee, the president gave the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu  Adamu a two-week ultimatum to address the demands of ASUU.

However, the two weeks elapsed three weeks ago, yet, nothing was done to forestall an extension of the strike by one month strike, which started on August 1, 2022.

As such,  Osodeke who appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, monitored by The PUNCH on Monday, said the union was willing to call off the strike if the Federal Government agreed to its demands at today’s meeting.

He said, “If we go into that meeting tomorrow and the government says, what you have bargained for, we are willing to sign, the strike will be called off.”

In an earlier interview, Osodeke condemned the fraudulent activities which the government used the university unions rejected Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system to commit.

He said, ‘’We have been shouting all along that IPPIS is a fraud, we have told them that for 16 years they siphoned our money with IPPIS, they punished our members because of it. Now, they know, some foreign bodies forced it on the people.’’

ASUU commenced its ongoing strike on February 14, 2022, after the Federal Government refused to meet some of its demands including, the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers .ASUU president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this when he appeared as a guest on Monday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.
Osodeke said the issues of IPPIS and UTAS had been put to rest and insisted that the government has the capacity to meet the union’s demands.
LEADERSHIP reports that ASUU strike has entered six months without headway so far.
The lecturers in the nation’s public universities embarked on the strike on February 14, 2022 and extended several times because their demands were not met.
The ASUU president also lamented lack of commitment on the part of the government towards ending the strike which has kept students out of school for six months, and said the union’s platform, UTAS, was ready for application.
He said, “When they came with this IPPIS we told them that it cannot accommodate universities and that time the accountant general then, and the person in charge of IPPIS, when we met and finish the discussion and we found out the weakness in IPPIS, they agreed we should have a different solution.
“UTAS is ready and is the best. My happiness today about this strike is that for the first time they have tested IPPIS. It came in 2006 and it was never tested; they have been using it untested.
“I’m Happy that the Minister of communication and digital economy has been able to come out and say that there were multiple errors in IPPIS. Let them release the results it will tell us, UTAS came first in all the payment platforms.
“We and SSANU, we don’t have a problem on UTAS again, we are in unity now.
“We don’t have any faction of university lecturers. Whoever is doing that may be trying to use them against us. For you to have a union in a country like this it has to be registered.
“One, the issue of IPPIS and UTAS has to be put to rest because the test has been done
“If this government is serious this strike wouldn’t last more than two weeks. We were supposed to go on strike in November and NIREC came in and intervened and we were considerate to them. They met with the president, he set up a committee headed by the chief of staff that they should resolve this quickly and they did nothing.
“They set up the Nimi Briggs committee, we finished discussing with them they didn’t come back, the president directed the minister of education to resolve this within two weeks, two weeks has passed, they didn’t come back.
“We feel sad because what we are going to do now if we resume tomorrow in the next four years I cannot go on leave because I’m going to cover the backlog of work that we should have done while on strike.
“If we go to that meeting tomorrow and the government says what we are bargaining is willing to sign we call off strike,” he added.
Reacting to the minister of state for labour and employment, Mr Festus Keyamo’s comment, who said it would be unrealistic for the federal government to borrow money to pay the salaries of lecturers, Osodeke said he was speaking out of context.
“When you are appointed as a spokesperson you start saying anything you like, they don’t think. Is he the Minister of Finance? Has he attended any of our meetings? He should produce the data of what he is talking about.