The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has shown dissatisfaction with the Federal Government over its reactions to its demands and announced a “comprehensive, total and indefinite” strike.
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU President revealed this in a press release issued at the end of the Union National Executive Council (NEC) emergency meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the press release is entitled “ASUU strikes are to save public universities”.
It would be recalled that the lecturers have been on strike since Feb. 14, over the alleged failure of the government to sign agreements entered with the unions.
The requests of the striking lecturers include issues surrounding funding of universities, salaries and earned allowances of lecturers, among others.
Osodeke stated that the meeting was convened to review developments since its last resolution that rolled over the nationwide strike action for another four weeks beginning from Aug 1.
“In view of the foregoing, and following extensive deliberations on the government’s response to the resolution of Feb. 14, 2022, so far, NEC concluded that the demands of the union had not been satisfactorily addressed.
“Consequently, NEC resolved to transmute the roll-over strike to a comprehensive, total and indefinite strike action beginning from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022,’’ he said.
According to him, NEC noticed with regret that the union has experienced a lot of deceit of the highest level in the past five and half years as the Federal Government negotiated with ASUU in fruitless and unending dialogue without a display of utmost fidelity.
Osodeke noted that ASUU and other well-meaning Nigerians had shown serious disappointment and consternation on the attitude of the government portrayed by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.
He disclosed that for the avoidance of doubt, however, none of the demands that forced the union to resume the suspended strike as listed in the December 2020 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) had been fully implemented by the government to date.
“The draft renegotiated FGN-ASUU Agreement (second draft) remains unsigned; the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) has not been adopted and deployed to replace the discredited Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
“The White Papers on Visitation Panels to federal universities, if ready as claimed by the government more than six months ago, are nowhere to be found,” he said.
He disclosed similarly, that the government had not delivered on the promised balance of one tranche of the Revitalisation Fund more than one year after, the outstanding two tranches of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) had not been released.
He also added that nothing had since happened on the pledged support for an amendment to the Law of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to solidify the tide of the proliferation of universities, particularly by the state governments.
“NEC was utterly disappointed in agents of the government, especially the Minister of Education, for the deliberate falsehood and misrepresentation of facts aimed at scoring cheap political gains.
“It is disheartening to imagine that a minister whose responsibility it is to resolve the crisis can overnight turn round to lead in this ignoble enterprise of distorting facts and misleading Nigerians,’’ he said.
He revealed that NEC observed with dissatisfaction that some mischievous Vice-Chancellors and Chairpersons of Governing Councils of State Universities have evolved disingenuous underhand tactics to antagonize the current ASUU demands in their various universities.
The union president said, “ASUU struggles are to save Nigerian public universities irrespective of ownership federal or state.”
He stated that ASUU shall use all legitimate means at its disposal to safeguard and protect the interests of its members in public universities who might be victimized on account of the ongoing struggles.
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Osodeke said the NEC disclosed with pain its concerns for Nigerian students “who are also our wards and foster children” and berated the government’s seeming negligence to their plights.
He said the union empathized with the students, parents and other officials in the universities.
He said NEC acknowledged its belief in the sanctity of a stable academic system.
“Were it within our control, our universities would never have been shut for one day.
“However, ASUU was forced into taking this painful decision to prevent members of the Nigerian children from the ruling class and their foreign collaborators from further destroying whatever is left of our public universities. We are all victims.
“We need the understanding, solidarity and sacrifices of all to ensure that every qualified Nigerian youth who cannot afford the cost of private university education or foreign studies has unhindered access to quality university education,’’ he said.
He stated that ASUU strikes were aimed at saving public education, and ensuring that governments (Federal and State) use “our common patrimony to support quality public university education. This is our collective obligation.”
He said NEC accepts with appreciation past and present efforts by prominent Nigerians and groups to intervene in the lingering crisis.
He stated that ASUU would remain focused on the full implementation of the Dec. 23, 2020, Memorandum of Action for quick restoration of industrial harmony in Nigeria’s public universities.