The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said their industrial action will end immediately if the federal government addresses their concerns.
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday night.
Osodeke claimed an agreement had been reached with the government, but it has not been signed.
According to him, ASUU’s insistence on using their own generated payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), is a key demand.
“As far as ASUU is concerned, the strike can end tomorrow.
“We have finished the negotiation. If the government calls us now to come and sign the agreement, we will be there tomorrow.
“Let the government tell us they have finished testing the UTAS and we have accepted it, then we will call off the strike.
“When will they sign the agreement? When will they accept UTAS? Those are the two questions we should ask the Nigerian government,” Osodeke said.
ASUU strike enters 140th day, SERAP, others lampoon FG
The Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project and other education rights groups, such as the Reform Education Nigeria and Education Rights Campaign, have knocked the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the prolonged shutdown of academic activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The PUNCH reports that the strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities entered its 140th day on Monday (today), while the strike declared by the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and other Allied Institutions, which began on March 25, 2022 also entered the 68th day today.
While the National Executive Council of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics is currently meeting in Jigawa State after calling off a two-week warning strike, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union just commenced a two-month strike.
In a statement made available to journalists on Sunday, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that the government’s failure to meet ASUU’s demands, implement the agreement it had with the union and satisfactorily resolve the issues, has kept poor Nigerian children at home while the children of the country’s politicians attend private schools.
Oluwadare said, “Inequalities in education have a rolling effect, leading to even more and continued inequalities in the future.
“Apart from being a right in itself, the right to education is also an enabling right. Education creates the voice through which rights can be claimed and protected, and without education, people lack the capacity to achieve valuable functioning as part of the living.
“If people have access to education, they can develop the skills, capacity and confidence to secure other rights. Education gives people the ability to access information detailing the range of rights that they hold together with the government’s obligations.”
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, faulted the silence of critical stakeholders on the academic shutdown.
Oluwatoyin said, “It is saddening that the government has continued to allow negotiations to linger with no concrete end in sight. The Presidency must, as a matter of urgency, take over the negotiations with the unions.”
Also, the co-Convener, Education Rights Campaign, Michael Lenin, said, “The blame for these strike actions that have grounded tertiary education must be placed at the door-step of the government.
“It is quite unprecedented that all the major unions in the tertiary education sector are all on strike; however, it shows the level of damage that the negligence of successive governments has done to the educational sector through chronic under-funding.”
Efforts to get the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who has described himself as the reconciliation minister between the Federal Government and the unions, proved abortive as calls and texts sent to his telephone number on Sunday remained
unanswered as of the time of filing this report.
When contacted, the National President, ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, noted that the union’s National Executive Council would commence its meeting on Tuesday.
“Our NEC is commencing meeting on Tuesday, if we are still not satisfied with the level of implementation of demands so far, a strike may be declared,” he said.
The National President, ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, could not be immediately reached for comments on Sunday evening.
Similarly, the National President, Joint Action Committee of SSANU, NASU and NAAT, Muhammed Ibrahim, did not answer calls and texts sent to his line.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says it is ready to end the nationwide strike immediately if the Federal Government agrees to sign the negotiated agreement to invest in university infrastructure and also agrees to pay salaries through the recommended University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
This was disclosed by Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Union in an interview with Channels TV on Monday evening.
He added that the Union has finished its negotiations and basically waiting on the government’s response.
What ASUU President is saying
Prof. Osodeke stated that the Union wants the best for Nigerian students, stating that “What we want for Nigerian children, go round and see, and compare with Ghana or South Africa and compare them, that is our struggle.”
On when the strike can end, he said, “as far as ASUU is concerned, the strike can end tomorrow, we have finished the negotiations, let the government call us this night, that we should come tomorrow and sign the agreement, we will be there.”
“Let government tell us they have tested and accepted UTAS, we will call off the strike.
“We are finished (with negotiations). We are just waiting, and challenging the government… when will they sign the agreement, and when will they accept UTAS? Those are the 2 questions we need to ask the Nigerian government,” he added.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported last month that the Federal Government, in response to ASUU, said it has no plans to introduce a different salary payment platform for the trade unions in tertiary institutions, insisting it won’t pay salaries through the recommended University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
- Ngige said, “No employee or worker can dictate to his employer how he or she will be paid.”
The Federal Inland Revenue Service has extended the deadline for filing Companies Income Tax Returns for the 2022 Year of Assessment, which was due on 30th June 2022, to 31st August 2022.
This was disclosed in a Press Release issued today by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and signed by the tax authority’s Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami.
The extension only applies to CIT returns, other taxes such as VAT and withholding taxes are not covered. Also, there will be no penalty for late returns and payment for 2022 in respect of the relevant tax returns that are filed by 31 August 2022.
What FIRS is saying
Nami said that the decision was taken after receiving “numerous calls from companies for the extension of time to submit the Companies Income Tax (CIT) returns for the 2022 year
of assessment falling due on 30th June 2022.”
- He stated that as a measure of goodwill by the Service and in line with relevant provisions of the Companies Income Tax Act, it had directed that “all Companies whose Companies Income Tax (CIT) returns for the 2022 Year Of Assessment that fall due between 30th June and 31st August 2022 (both days inclusive), were given up to 31st August 2022 to submit their returns to the Service.”
- He went further to state that the extension is a “one-off gesture by the Service for only the 2022 Year of Assessment on Company Income Tax Returns” and that Companies who filed within this period of extension would not be subject to Late Filing Penalty or interest for late payment.
- He added, “The relevant Company Income Tax returns shall, therefore, not attract Late Filing Penalty or interest for late payment if submitted to the Service on or before 31st August 2022;
- “Where relevant Company Income Tax returns are not filed by the extended date, penalty and interest for late payment shall be computed from the original due date and not the extended date,” Mr Nami said.
- “This extension of the filing date is only for CIT and does not include returns for withholding tax, value-added tax, personal income tax (PAYE), etcetera,” Mr Nami pointed out.
FIRS urged relevant taxpayers to take advantage of the extension and submit their Companies’ Income Tax Returns and pay their respective taxes within the time frame stipulated.
ASUU strike: Stakeholders express worry, want immediate resolution
Some stakeholders in the education sector have continued to deep express worry over the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
They said that the face-off had crippled the livelihood of the people around the universities.
The stakeholders, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, called for immediate resolutions so that students would return to their classrooms.
An educationist, Mr Olaniyi Olawade said the effect of the strike had brought untold hardship on the youths, business owners and had affected the economy of residence where institutions were located.
Olawade said that many students had lost focus and were getting involved in so many criminal activities capable of shortchanging their destinies.
According to him, many who earn a living from businesses around the school communities cannot do anything again and have resorted to living unproductive lives.
“The effects of ASUU strike on the youth of this nation is quite enormous. It has adverse effect on their present and future endeavours as it makes them unproductive and lazy.
“The strike has done more harm in wasting the precious time of the students and making the youths to become unscrupulous and to lose hope in this country,” he said.
Olawade said that the four months strike had grounded the productive academic sector and other aspects of the economy of the nation.
“Also, those that are not in the academics but earn their daily bread by selling stuff to the students and academic communities are not finding things easy this period.
“We are pleading with the government and the academics to sheath their sword and allow peace to reign so that this matter can be resolved once and for all as the students are the most affected by the crisis,” he added.
A civil servant and a mother of three, Mrs Damilola Bankole said that the strike had drawn back the academic progress of students as compared with their colleagues from other climes.
Bankole called on the government to wade into the situation by attending to the needs of these universities lecturers, while looking for alternative preventive methods to avoid such crisis in the future.
“One of the major effect of ASUU strike on Nigerian universities is the fact that it’s going to draw us back. The academic calendar has been drawn backward and for it to pick up again, it will take a lot of time.
“Apart from this, it is also going to have a great effect on the smooth transition from secondary school to higher institutions.
“This is because some students have just concluded writing their WAEC and JAMB examinations and have applied to these universities but as it stands, nothing can be done as they have to be on the queue.
“And when there is a queue in the education system of a country, it leads to crimes and other moral decadence in the society because a child who waits more than necessary will be involved in unscrupulous acts,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor,
Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take charge and speed up the process of resolving the ongoing trade dispute with ASUU and other unions.
Edoumiekumo is also the Chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU).
He said that a drastic action must be taken to stem the haemorrhage that the system was currently witnessing for the sake of the Nigerian children.
” I have said that the president should speed up the whole process, take over everything and take a concrete decision and that is even now, so that our students who are at home will be back on campuses.