The Federal Government has agreed to some of the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in a desperate attempt to weaken the ongoing and widespread #EndSARS protest across the nation.
On March 23, 2020, ASUU declared an indefinite strike despite the closure of all universities by the National Universities Commission due to the outbreak of the novel COVID-19.
ASUU embarked on the strike over the non-payment of the salaries of their members who failed to enroll in the federal government’s Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS), a payroll software mandated for all public officials.
Now, as the #EndSARS protest rages, the Federal Government has agreed to release N30bn earned academic allowance to the university lecturers. The money will be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022.
The remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022 respectively.
Also, FG promised to spend N20bn on the revitalisation of the education sector as part of concessions meant to end the seven-month strike.
On IPPIS rejected by the union, the meeting according to Premium Times was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to the government as this was done on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.
“The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (NSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy; it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.”
The Thursday meeting was convened as a follow-up to the previous meeting held with the Senate leadership on Tuesday, where the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, committed to engaging ASUU and other stakeholders to iron out the outstanding issues.
While Mr Ngige led the federal government’s team, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the representatives of the lecturers’ union.
Speaking earlier before going into a closed-door session according to Punch, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said students were being recruited into the #EndSARS protests following the closure of universities occasioned by the ASUU strike.
He expressed the hope that ASUU would call off the strike soon, noting that the government had been finding ways to end the seven-month strike.