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Why ASUU has not called off its strike -Ogunyemi

BIODUN Ogunyemi, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the union is waiting for the Federal Government to conduct an integrity test on the alternative platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), before it calls off its ongoing strike.

The UTAS is the payment platform created by ASUU in place of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

According to  The Punch, Ogunyemi said the government needed to give clearance to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to conduct an integrity test on the software before its final approval.

“The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is the government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted,” he said.

The ASUU President who noted that the Federal Government has accepted the union’s UTAS in principle added that the leadership of the union would be meeting with the delegation of the government for further discussion. 

“We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed,” he said.

“In principle, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process. We had presented UTAS at three levels, starting with the Ministry of Education, Senate President and members of his team, officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA, all stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving in to.

“If the government facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all. We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS; it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted.”

While stating that members of the union are ready to go back to classes, Ogunyemi added that the union wants sincerity and commitment from the government.

“Our members are ready to resume work as early as the government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume an empty stomach or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government,” he said.

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“We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students, they are also our children.”

“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have an issue with going back to work, but we want more sincerity on the side of the government. We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect. we will tell Nigerians.”

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