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ASUU Urges Prompt Release Of N170 Billion For University Revitalization

Daud Olatunji

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos Zone, has demanded the immediate release of the allocated N170 billion in the 2023 budget for university revitalization and called for a more sustainable funding framework.

The union also expressed concern over TETFUND’s reported intention to assist a foreign institution, urging clarity and emphasizing the agency’s responsibility to enhance Nigerian institutions.

During a press conference held at the University of Lagos on Friday, the zonal Coordinator, Adelaja Odukoya addressed critical issues plaguing the Nigerian education system.

 The union reiterated its longstanding call for increased government funding and attention to public universities.

On the renegotiation of the federal government and ASUU 2009 agreement, the union emphasized the necessity of renegotiating the 2009 agreement with the Federal Government, citing the 15-year lapse without revision.

 Odukoya recalled past engagements with government committees, including the recent Nimi Briggs-led renegotiation committee, whose efforts were thwarted. 

He said the current salary structure, stagnant since 2009, has led to a stark decline in real earnings for Nigerian academics.

Regarding withheld salary, the union condemned the “No-Work No-Pay” policy implemented during the previous administration, leaving lecturers without salaries for an extended period. 

While acknowledging partial payment following interventions, ASUU deemed it insufficient and insensitive, especially given economic challenges.

On the unpaid arrears of Earned Academic Allowance, ASUU drew attention to the government’s failure to address the backlog of Earned Academic Allowances, despite budgetary allocations. 

The union emphasized the erosion of the allowances’ value and urged prompt disbursement.

Concerning the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, ASUU expressed concerns about the transition to the “new IPPIS,” emphasizing the need for quarterly fund releases to universities for autonomy.

 The union called for the refund of academics affected by IPPIS-related salary issues.

On public universities and the Treasury Single Account, the union criticized the impact of the Treasury Single Account on university autonomy, citing liquidity issues hindering meaningful projects. ASUU called for the immediate removal of public universities from the TSA.

Regarding the proliferation of universities, ASUU highlighted the excessive establishment of universities without adequate financial support, straining resources. 

The union pledged to resist the politicisation and banalization of the university system through legal means.

On LASU issues, ASUU called for the reinstatement of five officials dismissed at LASU and the release of the 2021 Visitation Report White Paper to ensure justice and industrial peace.

ASUU called on various stakeholders, including the media, labor movement, student organizations, and civil society, to reject the government’s approach to labor matters and stand in solidarity for the betterment of the Nigerian University System.

 The union affirmed its commitment to the struggle for improved conditions in public universities.

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