Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU

 

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday suspended its nationwide strike after three months.

ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, announced this at a press conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The union suspended the industrial action following its latest meeting with representatives of the Federal Government led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nigige.

READ ALSO: ASUU Suspends Nationwide Strike After Three Months

Read the full statement issued by the ASUU President below;

ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), NATIONAL SECRETARIAT. TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA

Protocol

Friends and compatriots of the Press, On Sunday, 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.

The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017.

While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action”.

Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.

Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses.

This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.

Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.

Why Strike Action? The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the universities?

However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria.

ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health, transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living.

This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.

ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union.

At our media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd  December, 2018, we highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:

– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA  of 2017

– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of the nation and the people at heart.

Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances (EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of same into the 2018 budget.

– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA)

– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of university education and undue interference in the affairs of the universities

Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO

– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of

2019.

Highlights of the MoA include the following:

  1. In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
  2. Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36 months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
  3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
  4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
  5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.
  6. Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of operational license to NUPEMCO.
  7. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively by 11th March, 2019.
  8. Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by Friday 29th March 2019.

Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive consultations through its various organs. The final level of consultation was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) which took place 6th-7th February 2019.

NEC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and 2017 MoA, NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th February 2019.

However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.

Conclusion

ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice-chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities.

Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalisation of public universities in Nigeria.

ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and the progressive development of our universities.

Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.

Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike period.

We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle.

We also acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities from imminent collapse.

While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work.

We shall never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university system.

For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!

Thank you for listening.

Biodun Ogunyemi

President

7th February 2018

FG Continues Negotiation With Lecturers Over ASUU Strike

FG Continues Negotiation With Lecturers Over ASUU Strike
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja in December 2018.

 

The Federal Government has continued its negotiation with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the ongoing industrial action by the union.

The meeting held on Thursday at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja.

ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led other striking lecturers to the meeting which has the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in attendance.

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Other government representatives at the meeting are the permanent secretaries at the ministries of Education, as well as Labour and Employment, and some directors from the ministries.

In his welcome remarks, Senator Ngige said he was hoping that the meeting would be the final negotiation that would resolve the lingering industrial crisis.

On his part, the ASUU President was hopeful that the discussion would not take long like the previous ones held.

Both parties are meeting after a series of negotiation following the nationwide industrial action by the lecturers since November 2018.

The minister and the ASUU President had told reporters at the end of the meeting held on Friday last week that progress was being made to address the issues raised by the striking lecturers.

Although they did not give any specific detail, they promised to address a press conference at the end of today’s meeting.

Saraki Asks Buhari To End ASUU Strike Without Delay

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Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has urged the Federal Government to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU).

Saraki made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU), because this issue goes beyond negotiations.  It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections,” he stated.

Saraki warned that the undergraduates might be denied the opportunity to vote in the general elections if the demands of the lecturers are not met.

READ ALSO: Saraki Accuses Buhari’s Government Of Increasing Unemployment

While noting that the youths make up over 51 per cent of the voting population, the Senate President noted that a situation whereby the strike prevents them from participating in the polls where they registered isn’t acceptable.

“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.

“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue,” Saraki said.

Strike: Hope For Varsity Students As FG, ASUU Reach Agreement

Strike: Hope For Varsity Students As FG, ASUU Reach Agreement
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The Federal Government has finally reached an agreement with leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this to reporters on Monday in Abuja shortly after a meeting with the striking lecturers.

This signals hope of resumption for students of various universities under ASUU following a strike which has been ongoing for over two months.

However, the union has yet to make a decision whether or not it is calling off the strike for academic activities to resume in the schools.

Senator Ngige told reporters after the meeting that the government has met a majority of the demands by ASUU, including the release of N15.4 billion for payment of salary shortfalls.

According to him, the government is also in the process of releasing another N20 billion naira for payment of earned allowances for university lecturers.

The National President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, also confirmed to reporters that an agreement was reached with the government at the meeting.

But he noted that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU would review their decisions based on the new commitment by the government.

Professor Ogunyemi insisted that it was only after the meeting of the union’s leadership that ASUU would announce its position on the ongoing industrial action.

After a series of meetings ended inconclusively, Professor Ogunyemi had reportedly led leaders of the union out of a discussion with the government in December 2018.

Senator Ngige swiftly denied this and faulted the reports that the striking lecturers walked out of the meeting.

He had, however, insisted that the government was concerned about the issues raised by the union and was committed to resolving them.

The minister had also assured the union that attention would be paid to three critical demands which included salary shortfalls, university revitalisation, and earned allowances of union members.

Strike: FG To Continue Negotiation With ASUU Leaders

FG To Continue Negotiation With ASUU Leaders Over Strike
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The Federal Government and leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are set to continue their negotiation today.

Both parties hope to reach a truce at the meeting expected to hold in Abuja concerning the ongoing industrial action ASUU started in November 2018.

The government is also seeking to use the discussion to improve on its efforts so far at resolving all contending issues raised by the striking lecturers.

The union went on strike following the alleged inability of the government to respond to its demands.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike Continues As Union Leaders Walk Out Of Meeting With FG

It had also raised concerns over the poor funding of Nigerian Universities, the alleged plot to increase students’ fees, introduction of an education bank, as well as non-implementation of previous agreements, among other issues.

Today’s meeting followed at least five others between the government and the union which ended inconclusively since the strike began.

In December 2018, ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, reportedly led other leaders of the union out of a meeting with the government.

But the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, faulted the reports that the striking lecturers walked out of the discussion.

He had, however, insisted that the government was concerned about the issues raised by the union and was committed to resolving them.

The minister had also assured the ASUU leaders that attention would be paid to three critical demands which included salary shortfalls, university revitalisation, and earned allowances of union members.

Despite the promises made, academic activities have remained grounded in concerned universities across the country and this has sparked widespread criticism on the part of the government.

ASUU Strike: Buhari Meets With National Association Of Nigerian Students

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is meeting with National and Zonal leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS).

The meeting which was scheduled for 11:30 am has the delegation of the students’ body seated at the Council Chamber in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The discussion of the meeting will be centred on the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The lecturers embarked on the strike about two months ago to press home their demand for A better welfare and funding of government-owned universities in the country.

The action has left academic activities in the various institutions paralysed, and talks held so far to resolve the dispute have ended in a deadlock.

ASUU Strike Continues As Union Leaders Walk Out Of Meeting With FG

The Federal Government’s effort to end the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suffered another setback as it failed to reach an agreement with the leaders of the union again.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, presided over a resumed negotiation with the striking university lecturers on Monday at the ministry in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Unlike previous meetings which ended inconclusively, ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led other leaders of the union out of the meeting.

Professor Ogunyemi, however, refused to speak to reporters about why the union leaders walked out of the meeting which lasted about two hours.


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Earlier, the minister assured the ASUU leaders that attention would be paid to three critical demands which included salary shortfalls, university revitalization, and earned allowances of ASUU members.

With the recent development, academic activities will remain grounded in concerned universities across the country after the ASUU president said earlier that the union would wait until today before taking a decision on whether or not to suspend the industrial action.

A similar meeting with the minister last week was adjourned till today when the minister was expected to brief the striking lecturers on areas that the Federal Government has agreed to implement from their long list of demands.

ASUU began the total nationwide strike in November after a meeting of its national leadership at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The industrial action was to protest the poor funding of Nigerian Universities and the alleged plot to increase students’ fees in some institutions.

Among other issues raised by the union include the introduction of an education bank and the non-implementation of previous agreements.

Atiku Promises To End ASUU Strikes, Incessant Labour Crisis If Elected

ASUU Strike: Atiku Pledges To End 'Incessant Labour Crisis' If Elected
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

 

Former vice president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has stated his concern about the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In a statement by the Director of Media and Publicity for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, Kola Ologbondiyan, Atiku decried the industrial impasses between the Federal Government and labour unions in critical sectors in the country.

Reaction to the nationwide strike by ASUU, he lamented that the situation was altering the future of Nigerians youths and putting families under undue pressure.

READ ALSO: ASUU Strike To Continue As FG, Union Fix Monday For Further Talks

“Atiku Abubakar, however, offers hope to the striking lecturers and other agitating labour fronts as he has already set out templates to handle all related issues and ensure an end to incessant labour crisis, ensure industrial harmony and greater productivity in all sectors, immediately he is elected into office as president,” the statement said.

The former vice president stressed the importance of education and youth development to national cohesion, stability, development and economic prosperity.

He stated that he had already ‘articulated a clear and practical roadmap’ towards resolving all issues hampering education in Nigeria in his policy document, which he said embodies the aspiration and wishes of all Nigerians in their overall productive ventures.

“Our candidate has made ample provisions for enhanced welfare packages, research grants, better teaching and learning environment as well as a strong synergy between the union and government towards a harmonious working environment,” the statement revealed further.

ASUU began the total nationwide strike in November protest the poor funding of Nigerian Universities, the alleged plot to increase students’ fees, as well as non-implementation of previous agreements, among other issues.

ASUU Strike To Continue As FG, Union Fix Monday For Further Talks
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The industrial action was followed by discussions between the government and the striking lecturers led by ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

After a series of meetings ended inconclusively, both parties met on Monday and later agreed to continue talks on Monday next week.

Professor Ogunyemi told reporters at the end of the meeting that the union would await the next adjournment date before it would take a decision on whether or not to suspend the industrial action that has entered its fifth week.

OAU Professor Blames ASUU Strike On Broken Promises By FG

A Professor of Zoology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Tola Badejo, has blamed the current strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on some broken promises on the part of the Federal Government.

“It’s about not fulfilling agreements, ASUU went into an agreement with Federal Government in 2009 – in 2013 there was a strike, it was suspended and they just resumed the strike because nothing has been done in respect of the agreement.”

He made the comments when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise daily.

The university don noted that ASUU went into the agreement with the Federal Government in 2009 with a view to addressing issues bordering on the dilapidated structures of the nation’s universities, improvement in salary structures among several others.

Badejo advised ASUU not to shelve the strike until their demands are met and to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2013 when the union suspended its strike because of the pleas of students and their parents.

“I will not advise them to suspend any strike now because an agreement is an agreement and I am very happy that this government has not made the agreement with them, this government has not thought of starting another.

“They are looking for ways to honour the agreement. We can’t hold government to ransom by demanding that the agreement be reached,” he stated.

Read Also: Osinbajo Has Not Taken Over ASUU Negotiations, Says Laolu Akande

Reacting to earlier media reports of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo leading the FG’s negotiating team, the Professor of Zoology said: “I was happy when we (ASUU) heard he (the Vice President) would be in control because he was a lecturer in Unilag, so he is one of us, and you know you need somebody that has been there with you to understand your point and everything.

“When we heard later that he is not with the team, in fact, you don’t have to be one of us before you can solve this matter. All you need is a good head, and of course the right way of thinking.”

Osinbajo Has Not Taken Over ASUU Negotiations, Says Laolu Akande

The spokesman to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has refuted an earlier claim by the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, that the Vice President would be handling the negotiations with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The Federal Government had commenced dialogue with the striking ASUU members, after the Union declared an indefinite strike two weeks ago, citing the failure of the government to implement agreements reached with the union in 2009.

Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande refuted the claim by the Labour Minister, using his social media handle. He said: “news reports that VP Osinbajo has taken over ASUU negotiations is untrue and inaccurate. Labour and Education ministers continue to lead the talks.”

The minister of Labour and employment Chris Ngige had earlier, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, said that the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions.

 

FG, ASUU Meet In Abuja

The meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commenced in Abuja.

The meeting is expected to address recommendations in the 2009 agreement that are doable now.

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, has assured the Union that the government is willing to address the issues concerning the agreement.

Details later…

We Didn’t Fulfil Promises Made To ASUU, Education Minister Admits

Nigeria, Education, Adamu Adamu,, Minister Explains Ten Pillars Of Nigerian Education Reform
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

The Minister of Education Adamu Adamu has admitted that the Federal Government failed to fulfil some of the promises made to the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Adamu said this while speaking with State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting today, two days after ASUU declared an indefinite nationwide strike effectively grounding activities in most universities across the country.

In embarking on the strike, ASUU accused the government of failing to fully implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), among other things.

The minister, who described the ongoing strike as sad, did not defend the government against the allegation.

“I must confess that government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain. Though we are unhappy that ASUU went on this strike without following due process and giving us good notice, we realised that we promised something and we didn’t fulfil it,” he said.

Although Adamu regrets the failure of the government to fulfil the promises made to ASUU, he is hopeful that an agreement can be reached with the union later today when he meets their leaders.

“I hope I will be meeting them later today or tomorrow and I am sure we will be able to reach some agreement so that the strike will be called off as soon as possible,” he said.

“I am sure you are aware of the issues we agreed on. There is the issue of renegotiation which is the only one they agreed government has done what it promised because we set up the renegotiation team and negotiation is already ongoing.”

He explained that the government failed to resolve the issue of Earned Allowances because of some miscommunications but gave assurances to “ASUU and the whole nation” that the matter would be resolved.

Speaking further, the minister said, “There is the issue of registration for Nigerian Universities Pension Commission. I think on that one, there are a few issues that need to be sorted out with the Nigerian Pension Commission. I believe there will be no problem with that.

“On the issue of their staff school, I think the court has given them verdict to go ahead with it. They have requested that they should be allowed to stay off TSA and I think the government will not do this.”