The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged President Bola Tinubu to intervene to prevent public universities from descending into another prolonged strike. During a press briefing held at the ASUU Secretariat of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago Iwoye, ASUU Chairman for the Lagos Zone, Prof. Adelaja Odukoya, emphasized the urgent need for the President’s intervention in addressing the financial and welfare concerns of the universities.

By Aaior Comfort

ASUU called on prominent Nigerians to persuade President Tinubu to address the deteriorating state of public universities and to meet the lecturers’ legitimate demands, including adequate funding. The union warned that the government’s negligence in fulfilling its financial commitments is jeopardizing the stability of public universities.

At the briefing, attended by ASUU leaders from Tai Solarin University of Education, Federal University of Agriculture, Lagos State University, University of Lagos, and Olabisi Onabanjo University, Prof. Odukoya criticized the administration’s failure to properly fund the universities, maintaining the minimal support that has led to their current dire state.

Prof. Odukoya listed several issues that might provoke another extended strike, including the Federal Government’s refusal to sign and implement the re-negotiated FGN/ASUU Agreement, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances, promotion arrears, and non-release of third-party deductions. He also condemned the creation of new universities by federal and state governments while existing ones remain underfunded, leading to unnecessary duplication and increased overhead costs.

ASUU urged the government to expand the capacities of existing universities rather than establishing new ones, suggesting that existing institutions could increase their student populations and academic programs.

The union criticized the government for treating the establishment of universities as political projects, calling for a review and strengthening of National Universities Commission (NUC) laws to curb this trend. Prof. Odukoya emphasized the Federal Government’s deliberate refusal to sign and implement the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, a violation of International Labour Organization (ILO) principles.

He highlighted that the agreement, concluded in 2021 after extensive negotiation, was intended to improve the fortunes of universities. The union urged the Tinubu administration to implement the agreement to avoid further industrial unrest.

ASUU also demanded the abolition of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), describing it as a corruption-prone system undermining university autonomy. Prof. Odukoya condemned the continued use of IPPIS despite government promises to remove universities from its scope, describing it as a sign of lawlessness.

The union expressed frustration over the Federal Government’s refusal to pay three and a half months’ salaries and outstanding Earned Academic Allowances since 2020, which has exacerbated financial hardships for its members.

Prof. Odukoya concluded by urging President Tinubu to directly engage with ASUU leadership to resolve these issues, honoring his commitment to preventing unnecessary industrial unrest in universities. He called for the immediate adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace the problematic IPPIS.


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