The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has given some conditions to be met before they suspend the strike embarked upon on March 23, 2023.
ASUU said it will suspend the strike if the Federal Government pays their withheld salaries and completes the negotiations of what led to the strike. The union accused the government of trying to use hunger – a weapon of war, to suppress its members.
The disclosure was made by ASUU’s Zonal Coordinator, Prof Ade Adejumo, while speaking with Newsmen at the University of Ibadan on Wednesday, in the company of Professor Moyo Ajao; Professor Ayo Akinwole, Ibadan; Dr. Femi Abanikannda from the University of Osun; Dr. Dauda Adesola from Kwara State; and Prof Olusiji Showande from Lagos State.
ASUU said despite the length of time it gave the Federal Government to see reasons, they failed to utilize it.
Adejumo said, “We are ready to suspend the strike if the government pays our withheld salaries and completes the negotiations that led to the strike. Our children too are tired of staying at home, but we cannot work on empty stomachs while politicians’ homes and warehouses are filled with palliative materials that they don’t even need.”
“Government is using hunger to suppress us. Rather than for Government to utilize the opportunity of the lockdown to address our grievances, it was during that lockdown that our salaries were stopped, so that our members could die of hunger in their various homes. It took a high level of intervention before our members were paid amputated salaries for three months, after which the Government resorted to blackmail by whipping sentiments against us while taking our members as enemies deserving of starvation.”
“The intellectuals are citizens, not enemies but the Government appears to have declared war on us using the weapon used during the war against adversaries – hunger. Some people have been wondering why ASUU is on strike again. The simple answer is that ASUU is on strike because of the survival of the university system, where many of us still have our children as students since we cannot afford to sponsor our children abroad with our measly salaries as politicians do.”
“ASUU is on strike in order to restore the past glory of public universities and address the infrastructural decay and deficit in our institutions. ASUU is on strike for the legitimate dues of its members who are the least paid in the tertiary education sub-sector. For the sake of emphasis, the truth that will shock many Nigerians, which is available for verification, is that Chief Lecturers in some tertiary institutions, who are not required to supervise postgraduate students or conduct research, earn more than professors in our lopsided education system.”
ASUU said there is nothing new they are demanding from the politicians in government than for them to honor their own agreements with the union. It recalled how the government agreed to inject funds to revitalize our universities in 2019 and nothing has been done about it till this moment.
The Union also corroborated the earlier stance of its National President, Comrade Biodun Ogunyemi, that the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is a distraction to the union.
It said, “Apart from IPPIS being a cesspool of corruption as many Nigerians who are at its receiving end have attested to; there is no serious-minded country in the world where university lecturers and intellectual assets of the country are lumped together in payment with the civil service. We raised this point of order when the system was introduced and there was a joint team constituted to work things out.”
“The alternative, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) that we developed, and which has been successfully demonstrated at least three times to the satisfaction of government, is still being subjected to an unending process of integrity tests. We are being played around like ping pong, as Government keeps approbating and reprobating at the same time.”
Going further, the union stated that IPPIS is a violation of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2003 (also known as the Universities Autonomy Act No 1 2007 (as amended)) which the National Assembly signed into law on July 30, 2003, and subsequently gazetted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette Number 10, Volume 94 of January 12, 2007.
What you should know
ASUU embarked on a nationwide industrial action on March 23, 2020, following its dispute with the Federal Government over their insistence on the implementation of the IPPIS in the payment of University lecturers’ salaries and allowances, as against the ASUU-developed homegrown payment platform, UTAS, which they believe guarantees the autonomy of the university.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had hinted that ASUU would soon suspend its strike, following efforts by the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to meet with ASUU and resolve the disagreement on the controversial IPPIS.
ASUU says union has not yet agreed to call off strike
ASUU has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.
There was a bit of relief when news emerged that the strike action has been called off, after the latest meeting between ASUU top echelons and the Federal Government negotiation team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Friday.
According to a report from Vanguard, the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said he is not aware of any agreement to call off the strike. However, he noted that it was agreed at the meeting that the union would convey government’s message to their various organs and then report back to the government.
Ogunyemi said, “I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But, I don’t know about suspension of the strike.”
It was also reported that ASUU reached an agreement with the Federal Government after the latter increased its offer for Earned Allowances and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.
However, ASUU in a tweet insisted that the funding should be implemented before the union suspends its strike action.
#GoodNews The Academic Staff Union Of Universities ASUU, has accepted a newly pledged amount N70 billion to be released by the FG.
The union however insisted that the funding should be implemented before the strike would be suspended.
— Official_ASUU (@ASUUNGR) November 28, 2020
What you should know
Nairametrics earlier reported that ASUU had called off its 8-month-long strike. It said that the union took the decision after it agreed to accept government’s total payment of N70 billion and that the payment of their outstanding salaries must not be done through the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU embarked on strike in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and implementation of the IPPIS, which according to the union, negates the autonomy policy for the universities.
ASUU, however, has its own developed and preferred payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which the government said it is looking into.
Export of our products in West African sub-region now less competitive – MAN
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has lamented the less competitive nature of made-in-Nigeria products.
The export of made-in-Nigeria products in the West African sub-region has become less competitive according to the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed. He made this remark in a statement seen by Nairametrics.
According to Ahmed, MAN members are losing market share daily to other African countries due to the closure of the border, as the sub-region has now become less competitive.
“Major manufacturers of beverages, polypropylene bags, tobacco, cement, toiletries, and cosmetics industries were losing markets they had worked very hard to secure in the West and Central African region.
“These manufacturers were hoping to leverage their market share to secure a strong position in the African Continental Free Trade Area, which kicks off in January 2021.
“Since the closure, the association has conducted a research with its members, the outcome is that some sectors had considerable increase in their productivity, while some sectors recorded sharp decline.”
He emphasized that the export group of the association clearly suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure, as it takes an average of 8 weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of 7 to 10 days.
“The increased traffic through our seaport as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, leading to greater challenges for exporters and increased demurrage cost, as well as other port levies,” he added.
What it means
Nigeria’s President Buhari recently signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement exposing local Nigerian manufacturers to the regional competition.
- Whilst border closures impact positively on local markets due to restrictions on imports, it is unhealthy for local businesses looking to export across borders to regional African countries.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
AfCFTA: African Customs Officials to draft free trade continental guidelines
Customs officials from around Africa gave a nod to the adoption of continental guidelines to facilitate the free flow of cross-border trade.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) got closer to actualization on Saturday as Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.
This was disclosed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa on Saturday evening.
“Liberalization of 90% of tariff lines will affect customs revenues. About 85% of import come from outside Africa, leaving about 15% from the continent, but the agreement is an opportunity for Nigeria to boost exports and production,” the Customs Service disclosed at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar.
The joint adoption of a continental customs guidelines comes a few weeks before the AfCFTA kicks off in January 2021.
The meeting organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) virtually was attended by Customs Chiefs in Africa, who agreed to implement measures to facilitate cross-border trading challenges heightened by the covid-19 pandemic.
The Director of Regional Integration and Trade, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Stephen Karingi, disclosed that the guidelines were drafted to boost coordination and implementations of a common customs guideline covering areas including transport and infrastructure and others.
“The aim is to have the continental guidelines in place early next year to reinforce start of trading under the AfCFTA,” he said.
The guidelines cover a number of new sub-sections to respond to specific gaps in existing rules, including the regulation of small-scale cross-border trade and cross-border trade by fishermen, gender considerations, and treatment of essential workers, including transport and humanitarian workers.
“Once in force, the continental guidelines are expected to ensure a harmonized approach to support smooth and safe trade amid the pandemic, including transit trade between RECs,” said Hussein Hassan, AUC’s Acting Director for Trade and Industry.
What you should know
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the biggest free-trade agreements in the world right now with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion
The Federal Government announced that it has ratified Nigeria’s membership to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ahead of the December 5, 2020 deadline. The agreement goes into effect from the 1st of January 2021.
Nairametrics reported in September that the Nigerian Customs said the facilitation of trade requirements ranging from Pre-Arrival processes to Electronic Payments of duties would be important for the AfCFTA implementation for Nigeria.