BY EFE MODESTUS
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again dashed hopes of students returning to the classrooms , as it extended its six-months old strike by another one month.
ASUU, which made this known after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Sunday, said the strike took effect from Monday, August 1.
The Union went on a two-week strike in February after which it extended it by 12 weeks in protest of various unfulfilled promises by the government.
In a communique signed by ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the union said the NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations as spelt out in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with ASUU on 23rd December 2020.
“Specifically, NEC recalled that government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release agreed sum of money for the revitalization of public universities (Federal and States), address proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, settle promotion arrears, release withheld salaries of academics, and pay outstanding third-party deductions led to the initial declaration of the roll-over strike on 14th February, 2022.
“NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks. The Union wonders why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for the government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.”
He acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria.
He noted that Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper, adding that scholars must be incentivised to stay back and do what they know best in Nigeria.
“NEC appreciated the historic nationwide protest of 26th and 27th July, 2022 organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to further create awareness on the antics of the Nigerian ruling class to destroy public education. ASUU renews its commitment to the struggles of NLC in championing the cause of the working and suffering Nigerians. NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.
“NEC further observed that the on-going trial of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS). The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University
“NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide,” he stated.