The Academic Staff Union of Universities has declared a total and indefinite strike. The decision was taken at a meeting of the union’s National Executive Council held on Sunday in Abuja.
The PUNCH reports that the union started its ongoing strike on February 14, 2022. The strike is in protest against the government’s failure to release revitalisation funds for universities, failure to release the white paper report of the visitation panel to universities and the failure to deploy the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers.
The union’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed the outcome of the NEC meeting in a statement on Monday titled, ‘ASUU strikes are to save public universities.’ In the statement, Osodeke said the NEC regretted that the union had experienced deceit of the highest level for over five years, adding that the government engaged ASUU in fruitless and unending negotiation without a display of fidelity.
The statement read, “In view of the foregoing, and following extensive deliberations on government’s response to the resolution of February 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 12.01am Monday, August 29, 2022.
“NEC acknowledges with appreciation past and current efforts by eminent Nigerians and groups to mediate in the lingering crisis. Our union remains open to reasonable engagements as we have always done. However, ASUU remains focused on the full implementation of the December 23, 2020 Memorandum of Action for quick restoration of industrial harmony in Nigeria’s public universities.
“NEC noted with pains, its concerns for Nigerians students who are also our wards and foster children and condemned government’s seeming indifference to their plights. Were it within our control, our universities would never have been shut for one day.”
A member of the NEC, who did not want his name in print because he is not the spokesman of the union, told The PUNCH that, “The strike has been extended and the leadership has decentralised the communication channel. We have received mandates to engage more with the media and the public to educate them on the struggles of ASUU.”
State varsities’ pro-chancellors
The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state universities on Monday said state universities cannot be coerced to implement the agreement reached between the Federal Government and lecturers in federal universities under the aegis of ASUU.
The pro-chancellors also said there was the need for the democratisation of membership of unions in universities. The PUNCH reports that some state universities have come under fire over their failure to pull out of the ongoing strike declared by the national body of ASUU.
In a communiqué signed by the Secretary, Marcus Awobifa, and made available to The PUNCH on Monday, the pro-chancellors said, “The Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state-owned universities read with alarm and disbelief a statement made by the President of the ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodike, on a television programme, where he said state universities are ‘irrelevant and quacks.’ on August 26, 2022.
“Our first reaction was to ignore this tendentious, ill-conceived and flagrant unconscionable statement by the President of ASUU, but on reflection, it was thought necessary to do a rejoinder to this rather unfortunate statement having regard to the position of the President of ASUU in the scheme of things in our university system in Nigeria.
“Though COPSUN will not want to go into any diatribe with the President of ASUU, the Committee wishes to state as follows to put records straight: That the Pro-Chancellors of our state universities and indeed members of the councils are distinguished and accomplished eminent persons who had served and still serving this nation in many capacities. Amongst the members are retired Ambassadors, retired Generals in the Armed forces, retired Vice-Chancellors, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, renowned politicians and other distinguished professionals.”