Written by Godfrey AKON

ASUU urges compliance with guidelines on reopening of schools

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has advised federal and state governments to comply with specified guidelines for re-opening of educational institutions recommended by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, also called for more funding for the health sector to avert the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ogunyemi, who condemned the controversial removal of the former Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, UniLag, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogunndipe, said all available evidence shows Ogunndipe was not taken through due process.

He reminded the Pro Chancellor of the university, Wale Babalakin, that the knowledge of procedures and process for appointment and removal of Vice Chancellors was not the exclusive preserve of legal luminaries.

Ogundipe’s removal had earlier been condemned by Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities under the aegis of the Committee of Vice Chancellors, CVC, over its lack of due process.

Secretary General of CVC, Prof Yakubu Ochefu, who decried the lack of due process in Ogundipe’s removal, called on the Governing Council of UniLag to give the embattled vice chancellor the opportunity to defend himself.

The board had in an emergency meeting on August 12, 2020 announced the removal of Ogundipe over allegations of “serious acts of wrongdoing, gross misconduct, financial recklessness and abuse of office.”

On arrears of salaries owed its members, the union leader called on the Federal Government to pay the withheld salaries of its members to pave way for further discussions on the outstanding issues of 2019 Memorandum of Action.

According to him, five months’ salaries of ASUU members in some universities were still withheld by the Accountant General of the Federation on account of non-registration on Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPI, adding that thousands of other academics across the universities were suffering the same fate.

Ogunyemi said “We counsel that the government at both the Federal and state levels to meet the Taskforce specified guidelines for re-opening of educational institutions.

“We insist that all the arrears of the withheld salaries of our members in the Federal and state universities must be paid immediately to pave way for further discussions on outstanding issues of 2019 memorandum of Action.

“As we have continually stated in recent weeks, our demands in the ongoing strike action pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic or even the resurgence of government’s insistence on the migration of lectures to IPPIS platform.

“However, we view the Federal Government’s failure to acknowledge the trajectories which brought our universities to their knees and deprived them of capacity to respond to national challenges.”



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