The Academic Staff Union of Universities (Asuu) have suspended their almost 9 months strike – lecturers in Nigeria’s public universities have been on strike since 14 February, 2022.
But reports making the rounds on Friday indicate that the union has suspended their strike action. Dr Chris Piwuna, Vice president of the Academic Staff Union of the University (Asuu) confirmed the suspension to BBC News.
Asuu’s suspension of the strike is coming after the Appeal Court gave them condition to obey the ruling of the Industrial court.
Why the strike was suspended
ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke in a statement circulated on Friday said the union suspended their strike in compliance with the ruling of the court.
He said they also considered the respect they have for President Muhammadu Buhari and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The National Industrial Court in its wisdom gave an order compelling ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the substantive suit before it.
“the Court of Appeal acknowledged the validity of the grounds of the union’s appeal but still upheld the order of the lower court.”
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke in the statement said they are not satisfied with how the government has addressed their demands.
The Asuu president then directs all their members to resume work immediately.
Why ASUU went on strike
ASUU has been on strike for more than eight months now.
The public universities lecturers’ union is demanding the implementation of an agreement the federal government signed with them in 2009 plus other demands.
One of the major issues blocking negotiations between government delegates and ASUU is the payment platform the union is insisting the government used to pay its members.
The president of ASUU Victor Emmanuel Osodeke said the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which is supposed to conduct an integrity test on the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) has abandoned the platform even after upgrading it. But Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige say ASUU is trying to prolong the strike by making negotiation impossible.
He explained that they are insisting on UTAS even when NITDA has confirmed it failed the integrity test and fraud can be committed on the platform that can lead to huge loss of money.
The rest of their demands is inside the 2009 agreement ASUU signed with the federal government but ASUU says the government is still dragging its feet on the matter.
Meaning of UTAS
UTAS means University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) – a payment platform created by lecturers in public universities in Nigeria as an alternative to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) that the federal government has been using.
Currently, the Nigerian government uses IPPIS to pay salaries of about 711 ministries, departments and agencies but ASUU does not want to be a part of it. They claim that the platform is inefficient and gives room for lots of corruption.
Meanwhile, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the government agency that regulates the use of technology in Nigeria has tested the UTAS brought forward by ASUU and approved it.