UPDATED: ASUU Extends Six-Month-Old Strike Indefinitely

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendment
A file photo of ASUU’s logo.

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday extended its six-month-old strike indefinitely until the Federal Government meets its demands. 

A member of the union, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development to Channels Television following a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the striking varsity teachers at the University of Abuja.

He said the union extended the industrial action after reviewing progress reports on ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government in the last four weeks when ASUU rolled over the strike.

Last week, the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities.

ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It had then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at its demands.

Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.

READ ALSO: [Strike] Lecturers Are Resorting To Farming, Other Jobs – ASUU President

The university teachers are seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others. Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock. One such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja.

But a senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that the Briggs Renegotiation Committee did not come up with a new deal. The anonymous source said the committee had pleaded with the union to suspend the strike and promised that their concerns will be included in next year’s budget.

Since the industrial dispute, several groups and individuals have waded into the matter. The latest is human rights lawyer Femi Falana who asked the Federal Government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the striking workers.

“Instead of engaging in the diversionary tactics of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Government should ensure that the strike is called off by signing the Renegotiated Agreement with ASUU without any further delay,” Falana said in a statement he issued on Sunday.

“While calling on both sides to resume the negotiations in the interest of the country the Federal Government should be prevailed upon to end the prolonged industrial action.”

ASUU Suspends Nine-Month-Old Strike

File photo: ASUU National President, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, speaks during his appearance on Sunrise Daily on November 9, 2020.

 

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) on Wednesday “conditionally” suspended its strike, ending a protracted industrial action that started since March 2020.

ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi made the announcement during a briefing of the union in Abuja, explaining that the development followed the agreement reached with the Federal Government and a meeting with its National Executive Council (NEC).

He said the suspension of the strike takes effect from Thursday, December 24th, 2020.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends PTF Mandate Till March 2021

While warning that the union would return to strike without notice if the government fails in meeting its part of the agreement reached with the university lecturers, Ogunyemi noted that the reopening of the schools, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, lies with the Federal Government and senate of the universities.

Professor Ogunyemi thanked students and their parents for their understanding throughout the nine-month period and said: “no amount of sacrifice would be too much to get the matter resolved as long as the government is consistent with its commitments.”

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On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) tussle, the ASUU boss noted that both parties have agreed on the University Transparency Account System (UTAS), noting, however, that the university lecturers’ salary arrears will be paid by the government on a different platform.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government had expressed optimism that ASUU will soon return to the classroom after a meeting with the lecturers.

READ ALSO: What Nigeria Must Do To Enjoy Lasting Legacy From Health Sector Investment – Buhari

Tuesday’s meeting came a month after the federal government offered a cumulative N65 billion to the lecturers to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

COVID-19: There Is No Basis For Reopening Schools – ASUU President

 

 

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi, has faulted the move to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reopening of schools nationwide.

But Prof Ogunyemi is not in support of the move, saying the Federal Government has not put in place safety measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

READ ALSO: Oyo Discharges 180 COVID-19 Patients, Records 66 New Cases

According to him, every strata of government has to be carried along in the move to reopen the learning centres.

“The ministry (Federal), state ministries, have responsibilities; state education boards have responsibilities, local education boards have responsibilities; the thing has to trickle down,” he said on Wednesday during Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“You don’t put something on nothing, and that is what we have been saying.

“The basis for reopening schools is not there yet. The government must go back to the drawing board. They have to put what they have to put in place before they open our schools.”

The ASUU leader claimed that “nobody is talking about tertiary institutions,” but admitted that “one way or the other, we will come to talk about it.”

He also lamented that classes at all levels in public schools are congested and wondered how social distancing will be observed.

“We are saying they need to go back to the drawing board,” he restated.

 

Factional ASUU Chairman Blames National Leadership For Local Chapter Crisis

The Chairman, ASUU Progressives, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) chapter, Professor Maduabuchi Dukor has accused the central leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities of keeping mum concerning the division between his faction of the association and ASUU NAU, over the university’s participation in the on-going strike.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he said that “since the inception of that ASUU NAU led executives, there has been crisis” and they have painted the picture that they want to oust the Vice Chancellor at all cost.

The recent bone of contention between the two factions lies in the nation-wide strike embarked upon ASUU which they seem not to agree if they should participate or not, owing to ongoing examinations.

Mr Dukor accused the ASUU NAU faction on insisting that the university join the strike despite the fact that there is a provision for institutions which are conducting examinations.

Practical examinations had commenced in the school “about a week before the declaration of ASUU strike” in June.

He said the ASUU progressive faction had opposed the cancellation of the exams after the declaration of strike but “this body of executives of ASUU NAU led by Professor Ike Odimegwu said no, that the university must join the strike”.

“We know that ASUU has a provision of making an arrangement for an ongoing exam”.

ASUU National remained silent on that. He said.

University of Ilorin, Imo state University, University of Nigeria (Nsukka), Kogi State University are institutions which have concluded their examinations in spite of the strike.

Mr Dukor also accused the NAU faction of trying to oust the Vice Chancellor by publishing libelous articles on the internet, accusing him of abuse of funds and administration and instigating crisis in the school.

“When they failed in that agenda, they moved over to the issue of the tenure of the vice chancellor.”

The Vice Chancellor was pressured to leave office after 4 years; however, he was in acting capacity for a year. Citing the case of President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Dukor said “acting capacity is not counted anywhere”.

He said the declaration of ASUU strike has given leeway for fresh attacks against the university management.

ASUU Strike: Education Minister Has Not Helped Matters

A public affairs analyst, Chima Nnaji, has said that the Minister of Education, Ruqayat Rufai is not helping the on-going industrial strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and accused of treating the situation in an off-handed manner.

“The Minister of Education has not being helping matters” by “talking glibly.” This, he said, is a very cheap way of looking at a very serious problem.

He said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Nnaji said “she ought to sit with her team to take a very incisive analysis of the issues moving forward”.

The strike action embarked upon by the union is currently in 6th week, however, students may have to wait some more before an agreement is reached between the body and the Federal Government.

Mr Nnaji said “it appears it’s still a long wait” but added that the strike may be called off “anything from next week Tuesday, if it is possible.”

He accused President Goodluck Jonathan and government officials of paying little or no attention to the problems of the education sector and focusing attention on 2015. It is very unfortunate thing because “education is the most primary thing government should provide.”

“The ministers, governors, president, all the people in government are geared towards 2015.”

First, government must accept responsibility because “an agreement is an agreement” and must be respected.

The ASUU strike is happening at a time where there is proliferation of federal universities but “if you do not prepare the child of today for tomorrow, there is no future for this country.”

He addressed the issue of unqualified lecturers and called them to examine themselves. “How many of them are good enough to teach. What is the content of their teaching?”