By Waziri Isa Adam 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has given President Bola Ahmed Tinubu 14 Days to constitute the illegally dissolved Governing Councils of all Public Universities in the country, failure of which may compel the Union to take drastic action.

The union which described past and present government’s attitude towards university education as “nonchalant”, faulted the 35 per cent salary increment for professors and the 25 per cent salary increment for other academics in the university system.

President of the union, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, spoke at a press briefing at the headquarters of the union at University of Abuja Tuesday.

The briefing was to convey the resolutions from their National Executive Council meeting that was held at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, during the weekend.

The union wondered why the minimum wage was yet to be considered by the president, saying the recent salary increment was not different from wage award that could be withdrawn by the government anytime it deemed fit.

Osodeke also flayed the prolonged delay in the appointment of governing councils for federal universities by the federal government, insisting that the union had given the Tinubu-led federal government enough time to set things in motion.

The strongman of the union described dissolution of the governing councils as “illegal”, arguing that the move was against the principles guiding existing universities.

The union leader said, “The union was also concerned over the failure of the federal government to appoint members of governing councils for federal-owned universities. The dissolution of the governing councils was illegal as it was against the principles guiding the existing universities.”

ASUU also tackled the government for failing to implement the FG/ASUU 2009 agreement reached with the government in 2021, adding that the salaries of its members are still being paid using the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

“The platform, with all its encumbrances, is used to pay our members under the disguise of the “New IPPIS” contrary to the understanding reached at the 11th January, 2024 stakeholders’ meeting held at the National Universities Commission (NUC),” he said.

Professor Osodeke disclosed that members of the union would reconvene its NEC in two weeks to assess the situation and take a decisive step, an action parents and students may be quick at interpreting as ‘strike’

He added, “We, therefore, restate our demand for reinstating the governing councils, especially those whose tenures are yet to elapse and reconstitute those whose tenures have elapsed so that our universities can run in accordance with their laws.

“ASUU shall do all within its powers to ensure that the dignity of the academia is fully restored in line with practices obtainable in forward-looking climes.

“NEC shall reconvene after two weeks from the date of the NEC meeting to review the situation and take decisive action to address the issues.

“So, Nigerians should hold the Federal and State governments responsible if the matter is allowed to snowball into an avoidable industrial crisis.”

In a related development, the President of ASUU has decried the tax system in Nigeria where the rich pay little in tax while the poor are heavily taxed.

Osodeke spoke yesterday at the workshop on “Emerging Areas of Students Needs in Beneficiary Institutions’’ organised by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

He wondered the way out for “a lecturer who earns N400,000 a month but pays tax of N75,000.”

Osodoke said Nigeria ranked lowest in education budgets across the West African subregion.

He also restated the union’s call for an upward review of education tax to 10 per cent, saying it would increase TETFund funding from the current N600 billion annually to N3 trillion.

Osodeke berated many universities vice chancellors for their failure to carry necessary stakeholders along in the utilisation of TETFund allocation to their schools.

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