The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) has raised the alarm over the current move by the federal government to trample upon its rights and the “dilution” of academic ranks of its members across the country’s universities.
Already, the union said the federal government has directed the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folasade Yemi Esan to set up an 11-member committee to review the rights and dilution of ranks of academics Nigerian universities.
The union therefore charged its members to come together to resist the plot saying, “no one will come to fight for you except we fight for ourselves so as to protect the university autonomy in the country.”
The Ibadan Zonal Coordinator of the union, Dr. Ade Adejumo said this in Ilorin when he addressed members of the University of Ilorin branch, alongside other members of the national executive committee of the union as part of ongoing efforts by the union to mobilise its members across the country for an impending strike in case the federal government fails to pay this month salary due to ASUU’s continued resistance of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in universities.
According to him, “As we are here seated, I know some of us want to go on sabbatical, collect our accumulated leave, contracts appointment and host of others, before our very eyes, very soon, that will be taken away from us by the federal government.
“And a tone has been set on that plots and anytime from now because an 11-member committee has been inaugurated by the acting Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folasade Yemi Esan to review sabbatical and contract appointments and what that means now to academics?
“And when you listen to the comment from the government circles especially when the issue of IPPIS lasted, there was insinuations that lecturers worked on multiple campuses.
“Even during our meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Mustapha Boss said lecturers worked in multiple campuses but we let him know that accumulated and sabbatical leave, contract appointment and others are our rights that cannot be infrigned upon and the government quickly set up committee to look into our rights.
“Don’t be surprised that by the time the committee is being set up, the report is already written to put an end to our rights like accumulated and sabbatical leave, contract appointment, among others thereby putting you permanently where you belong.”
Adejumo added: “To average politicians in the country, members of ASUU are too arrogant, we cannot be controlled and they need to bring us down like that but we will resist the plot.
“Apart from this, there is another plot to dilute the academic ranks of union members in universities. Normally, appointment to academic positions must originate from the departments because the department is supposed to identify who may need such position.
“By the time the IPPIS runs its circles, the government will start posting staff from Abuja. When you get to your department, you will start seeing new faces.
“Don’t be surprised also that your students that managed to pass your courses will be sitting with you in your offices and by the time they have achieved that, they have diluted you and lowered your ranks and it rests on us to resist the plot so as to protect our rights and ranks in the universities.”
Adejumo added that the policy of IPPIS by the government was a distraction and scam, adding that, “it is a deliberate effort to ignore the implementation of the agreement reached with the union that led to the suspension of its last national strike.
He called on the government to respect the agreement and implement it so as to bring new lease of life to the university system in the country.
Earlier, the Chairman of UNILORIN branch of ASUU, Professor Salihu Moyosore Ajao, who lauded the massive attendance of the union at the meeting, said the development has changed the past notion the national leadership of the union has been having about the branch.
“The UNILORIN branch of ASUU is now more committed to the national ASUU and ready to be part of any struggle of the union in order to restore the past glory of the union in the country.