Journalism of Courage

Hope of reopening nation’s 91 public universities dashed as ASUU extends strike till May

...accused federal government of  insensitivity and peddling of lies

 

The nation’s public universities will remain shut until May this year,  the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared after arising from a prolonged meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) in the weehours of Monday in Abuja. The university lecturers said they are extending the one-month ongoing warning strike by another two months to end in May.

ASUU said it was forced to take the decision because of what it called the federal government’s insensitivity and peddling of lies.

Persecondnews.com reports that there are 170 universities in Nigeria as of 2021 with 79 of them as private, federal 43, while state universities are 48.

A member of the NEC who did not want to be identified said:“Yes, we have extended the strike by eight weeks pending when the Nigerian government would find the university system worthy of the desired attention.

“A statement is currently being drafted to that effect. We will make it available soon.”

ASUU had earlier warned the  government against misleading the public.

Persecondnews recalls that ASUU President, Prof. Emmauel Osodeke, had on Sunday denied that the proposed payment platform — University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) — failed integrity test conducted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Osodeke was reacting to recent statements credited to both the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and Director-General, NITDA that UTAS had failed the integrity test.

“This press statement is necessitated by the need for ASUU to put the records straight on the grounds already covered in our patriotic struggle to get the government to deploy UTAS as a suitable solution for salary payment in our university system.

“Let us put it on record that an integrity test was carried out by NITDA on Aug. 10, 2021 in NUC where relevant government agencies and all the end-users in the University system were present.

“At the end of the exercise, all, without exception, expressed satisfaction with UTAS as a suitable solution for salary payment in our universities.

“This was attested to by the report coming from NITDA then to the effect that UTAS scored 85 per cent in User Acceptance Test (UAT), ‘’the ASUU boss said.

According to him, in a curious twist of submission, the NITDA Technical Team, after conducting a comprehensive functionality test came out to say that out of 687 test cases, 529 cases were satisfactory, 156 cases queried and two cases cautioned.

Osodeke said taking this report on its face value, the percentage score was 77 percent.

“The question that arises from this is: Can 77 percent in any known fair evaluation system be categorized as a failure?

“Suffice it to say here that some observations and questions were raised by NITDA to which UTAS technical team has to provide clarification. As we speak, our engagement with NITDA over the second round of testing continues.

“The union is worried that while this exercise is going on, the Minister and the DG, NITDA went to press after FEC meeting of Wednesday, 9 March, 2022, to mislead the nation that UTAS has failed the integrity test.

“We wish to draw your attention to the fact that NITDA gave a report to the fact that NITDA gave the report that UTAS did well in both the integrity test and user acceptability verification.

“Clearly, 85 per cent and 77 per cent are high class grades in any known evaluation system.

“In their desperation to justify their false assertions, they threw up issues such as Data centre and hosting of UTAS software which are clearly outside the rubrics of ASUU’s responsibilities in the deployment of UTAS, ’’the ASUU President said.

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