The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the Federal University, Gashua, in Yobe State, has urged the Federal Government to address ongoing issues affecting Nigerian universities to prevent another disruption of academic activities. During a press conference held in Damaturu, the state capital, the branch Chairman, Melemi Abatcha, alongside other members, highlighted several critical concerns that need immediate attention.

Among the foremost issues is the need for adequate funding to revitalize Nigerian public universities. Abatcha emphasized the importance of improved infrastructure, conducive teaching and learning environments, and better accommodation for students and staff. He also stressed the necessity of equipping laboratories and libraries to enhance the quality of education. “The Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities have remained on the same salary structure since 2009,” Abatcha noted, pointing out the stagnation in remuneration despite the increasing cost of living and inflation.

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A significant point of contention is the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS). Despite a directive from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in December 2023 to remove ASUU members from this platform, they continue to be paid through it. Abatcha described the IPPIS as “obnoxious” and unsuitable for the unique needs of university staff, calling for its immediate abandonment in favor of a more fitting system.

Additionally, ASUU has raised concerns about university autonomy and the proliferation of new public universities, which they argue dilutes resources and attention needed for existing institutions. There is also the issue of the backlog of earned academic allowances, which amounts to a staggering N50 billion. Moreover, the union is demanding the release of the three and a half months’ worth of salaries withheld from its members nationwide.

Melemi Abatcha further highlighted the broader socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians, exacerbated by the removal of the fuel subsidy. He pointed out that this policy change has led to increased hardship for many citizens, and he warned against compounding these difficulties with another disruption in the academic calendar.

In light of these issues, the union is calling on the Federal Government to demonstrate sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians by swiftly negotiating and implementing a living wage that reflects current economic realities. This appeal is particularly pertinent given the ongoing disputes between the government and labor unions over a new minimum wage.

The ASUU branch in Gashua is urging the government to act decisively to resolve these lingering problems. They stress that failure to do so could lead to another round of strikes and disruptions, which would be detrimental not only to the academic community but to the nation as a whole. The union’s warning comes at a critical time, underscoring the urgent need for meaningful dialogue and action to ensure stability and progress in the Nigerian higher education sector.