COOU VC clears air over withdrawal from ASUU Strike

By Charles Onyekwere, South-East Bureau Chief

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

Speaking at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) July Congress which was held at Godwin Ezeemo International Press Centre, Awka, the erudite professor 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 Chiaghanam explained that, unlike federal government, the State government provides adequate funding to the state university including prompt payment of staff salaries, infrastructure and enabling environment for academic activities.

COOU withdrawal from ASUU strikeExplaining further, 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.

“Had the state university participated in the strike action and at the end of the negotiation, an agreement is reached, the federal government implements immediately while we at the state universities will have to meet the governors to renegotiate for the implementation.

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

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“It is not just the issue of joining strike but after the strike, the federal government will start implementing it immediately but 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.

Recall that COOU branch of ASUU, in February when ASUU commenced its warning strike declared that it would not participate in the earlier one-month warning strike backed by the parent body.

COOU withdrawal from ASUU strike

ASUU has been at loggerheads with the federal government following the government’s refusal to fulfil the agreements it reached with the Union in 2009.

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

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