The Federal Government of Nigeria has been accused by the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The Education body spotted manipulation on the part of the federal government as both parties fail to reach a compromise over the lingering industrial action by the lecturers.
ASUU National President, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, in a National television programon Monday also blamed the government for the inability of union members to return to class since March.
While both parties are at loggerheads over the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), he insisted that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) was the way to go for the lecturers.
Professor Ogunyemi noted that while progress was being made, the government has insisted that there was a transition period within which ASUU members would first be captured in the IPPIS before migrating to UTAS.
He, however, accused the government of playing a game of deception, saying it has failed to show commitment to resolving the impasse.
“What we need is a commitment; there is nothing like transition and what we are saying, in essence, is that government should just go ahead and pay what government has withheld – the salaries of our members; people have not been paid for eight or nine months on account of not registering on IPPIS.” ASUU president said.
He added, “Government should stop this arm-twisting and manipulation, going back to universities to ask them to go and enroll in IPPIS so that they will go and migrate to UTAS; people see it as a game of deception and we cannot trust them.”
According to Professor Ogunyemi, it is not the place of the union to tell the government where to get the fund to address its challenges.
He stressed the need for the government to show more commitment to the ongoing negotiations in order to ensure lecturers and students return to the classroom.
The ASUU president also highlighted some of the vital roles the union has played in ensuring public universities do not become a history in the country.
He stated that if not for the union’s effort, the fate of public universities in Nigeria would have been just like that of the primary and secondary schools.
“Each time people talk about this problem has been there for long, they don’t also appreciate the solution we have brought to the system to keep the system going.
“But for ASUU’s intervention, we would no longer have public universities today. Do we still have public primary schools? Do we still have public secondary schools? That is what will happen to public universities,” Professor Ogunyemi said.
The government, on its part, has since insisted that it was working hard to ensure the students return to class and address the various challenges in the nation’s education sector.