The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared readiness to resume its suspended strike.
The Chairman, ASUU, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Uzoma Darlington Chima, said members of the Union were highly disappointed at the failure of the Federal Government to address the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 2020 that led to the suspension of the strike.
It said it will no longer rely on the promises of the Federal Government to meet the agreement it reached with the union.
Speaking at UNIPORT on Tuesday, Chima said: “We are tired of empty and endless promises by the government and we are now ready to resume the suspended strike”.
He said it was disheartening that the Federal Government for no justifiable reason had failed on its promise to set up an inter-ministerial committee to review the draft of the renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement to enable parties to conclude the process that began in March 2017.
He recalled Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who assured the leadership of the union at a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the 19th November 2021 that the process of reviewing the documents would be initiated one week from that date.
He said: “Sadly that has not been done 10 weeks after. That promise came after several other failed promises in respect of the review of the draft agreement produced in May 2021”.
Chima decried the conditions of service of professors and lecturers in federal universities saying the average lecturer could not comfortably pay their children school fees.
He said: “The highest-paid professor in our federal universities receives a monthly salary of about N420, 000.00 and it has remained so since the implementation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement over a decade ago.
“The situation is worsened by the galloping inflation in Nigeria which has grossly devalued the naira. lt is disheartening to know that N420,000 which could exchange for about $3,000 in 2009 is now less than $1000.
“As of today, the average Nigerian lecturer cannot comfortably pay his children’s school fees even in the universities. What lecturers receive as salaries cannot take care of even their basic needs.
“Many of our retired professors cannot even boast of a flat of their own, while those in active service can hardly pay their house rent without loans.
“As a result of the bottlenecks associated with the IPPIS, one of us who was unjustly dismissed from the university in 2017 has not been captured in the payroll since his recall in 2020 consequently he has not received any salary in the last 51 months.
“Getting sabbatical visiting and adjunct placement in federal university has become quite difficult due to the encumbrances associated with the IPPIS.
“Another issue in the 2020 MOA that requires urgent attention is the amendment of the National University Commission NUC Act to check the indiscriminate and irrational establishment of more state university’s in spite of the gross underfunding of the existing ones.
“Our Union is worried about the prevailing situation where politicians are now using the establishment of universities as constituency projects to appease the electorate in their States and senatorial zones.
“It is now apparent that government has failed to satisfactorily address the issues raised in the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) that led to the suspension of the last strike that our Union embarked upon”.