ASUU can’t claim varsity autonomy, says Fed Govt

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THE Academic Staff Union of () cannot claim to be autonomous when lecturers are paid by the , Minister of and Employment, Chris Ngige, said Wednesday.

He said autonomy can only work when a university generates its resources to pay workers and meet its obligation.

Ngige spoke while defending his ministry’s budget before the Senate and Employment.

Striking lecturers have refused to call off their seven-month strike because of disagreement the over the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS).

claimed that enrolling the platform would erode the autonomy of the university system.

The National Association of Nigerian Students () yesterday issued a 14-day ultimatum to parties to resolve the lingering strike or face protests.

Ngige, according to a statement by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, told the that the Federal addressing the strike holistically to ensure that other unions in the university system were carried along.

Besides, the minister said the Federal Government has met most of the union’s demands.

“Out of the eight demands of , the government has solved five. We have made N50 available; N20 for the revitalisation of the and N30 for Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).

“The union agreed and went back to their members, only to return and say that the money for EAA should be for ASUU members alone, excluding other unions, namely, SSANU, NASU and NAAT,” Ngige said.

He explained that the Federal Government cannot ignore the other unions as such could be counter-productive to the smooth running of the university system.

“We cannot ignore the other unions whose services are indispensable for the full functioning of the university. If we ignore them, even if ASUU calls off the strike, the other unions will down tools-close the lecture rooms, the libraries, the laboratories- and, even the university gate,” the minister said.

On the contentious issue of IPPIS, the minister said the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS), which ASUU brought as an alternative has been sent to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for assessment.