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Why COOU Shunned ASUU Strike – VC

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Lawrence Nwimo, Awka

Vice-Chancellor of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Professor Greg Nwakoby, has given reasons his institution withdrew from the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government following the government’s refusal to fulfill the agreements it reached with the Union since 2009.

Part of the agreement include the replacement of Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS); release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities; and improved funding for revitalisation of public universities and others.

Speaking at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) July Congress which held at Godwin Ezeemo International Press Centre, Awka, Thursday, the university administrator explained that the Union took the decision in the interest of staff and students of the institution.

Prof Nwakoby who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof Osita Chiagha, explained that unlike Federal Government, the State Government provided adequate funding to the state university including prompt payment of staff salaries, infrastructure and enabling environment for academic activities.

He said: “Salaries of the Federal universities are funded hundred percent by the Federal Government, whereas the state universities work out their salaries from subventions and internal revenues.

He further said that “had the state university participated in the strike action, at the end of the negotiation and when agreement  is reached, the Federal Government implements immediately while we at the state universities will have to go back to the governors to renegotiate for our own implementation.

“It is like the N30,000 minimum wage. It is assumed that all civil servants at the state level are paid N30,000 minimum wage, but I can count the number of states that are implementing it.

“It is like the N30,000 minimum wage. It is assumed that all civil servants at the state level are paid N30,000 minimum wage, but I can count the number of states that are implementing it.

“It is not just the issue of joining strike but after the strike, the Federal Government will start implementing it immediately, but it will take long for the governors to implement at the state level.

“We have studied the system, understood it and at every point in time we know how best to present our matter to the governing council and to the appropriate authority for solutions,” he said.

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