ASUU Makes Fresh Demand As FG Set To Inaugurate Universities Governing Councils

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has demanded the immediate dissolution of the universities’ governing councils ahead of the July 4 date scheduled for their inauguration.

Plateau News learnt that members of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University branch of ASUU took to the streets with placards on Tuesday to protest, urging President Bola Tinubu to reverse the decision as due process was not followed in the appointments.

UNIZIK ASUU chairman, Kingsley Uboji, in an interview with Journalists, said it was illegal to resolve the old governing councils whose tenure has not expired.

He said, “Our union condemns the dissolution of the former governing councils without due process. Governing councils are crucial for the governance and strategic direction of our universities. Therefore, the illegal and arbitrary dissolution of the governing council whose tenures have not ended undermines Nigerian universities’ autonomy and smooth functioning.

“This cannot be tolerated as it lays a very bad precedence. Even the membership of the said newly reconstituted councils is problematic. A critical look at the list of the newly constituted governing councils shows that it is made up of very old politicians who do not understand the academic system and its administrative processes.

“Our public universities should not be a retirement home for politicians. We therefore call on the Tinubu-led government to do the needful by reversing its decision on the university governing councils dissolution.”

Uboji also urged Tinubu to address all outstanding issues decisively on the 2009 agreement with the federal government.

He called for the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement and implementation of Nimi Briggs report, funding for the revitalisation of public universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013, and the MoA of 2017, release of the 3½ months of the withheld salaries, payment of Earned Academic Allowance, EAA.

The union also demanded the release of unpaid staff salaries on sabbatical and adjunct due to IPPIS, release of third-party deductions, implementation of UTAS in place of IPPIS and implementation of the reports of the university visitation panels.

He added: “As you are aware, many of these issues have outlived successive governments without any resolution, and other issues have been created by consecutive governments as well, like the implementation of the IPPIS, which came with the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“Historically, the government has made commitments and signed agreements with ASUU, detailing timelines and expectations of both parties aimed at developing the Nigerian Universities as conditions for suspending any strike action.
But as soon as lecturers resumed work, the government and other stakeholders returned to status quo. ASUU would again start writing letters and reminders to the government, which were most often ignored, resulting in another strike action by ASUU.

“The 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement has been a recurrent decimal in all ASUU industrial actions. No government had taken the renegotiation seriously, but during the life of the past administration, negotiation came to a conclusion with the Nimi Briggs Committee.

“A document was produced, but the minions in the corridors of power refused to pass it on to the then President for his consideration and approval.

“Since then, no tangible outcome has been recorded in spite of the constructive recommendations of the Committee. Our union, therefore, demands that all renegotiations of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement be rounded off based on the Nimi Briggs Committee resolutions.”