ASUU Extends Strike By Another Four Weeks
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its over five-month-old rollover strike by another four weeks.
The rollover strike is with effect from 12.01am on Monday, August 1, 2022.
President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, who announced this in a statement on Monday in Abuja, said the one month extension would give the Federal Government ample time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
He noted that the decision was arrived at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ASUU to review developments since NEC’s resolution to extend its rollover strike by another 12 weeks with effect from May 2022.
This is the third time ASUU has extended the rollover strike since it embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.
On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meets all of its demands.
On May 9, ASUU extended its rollover strike by another three months over the failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with the union.
Osodeke said following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home demands for implementation of agreements the Federal Government reached with the union.
Some of the demands of ASUU include upward re- view of salary structure of lecturers, renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), payment of outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release of, agreed sum of money for the revitalisation of public universities (federal and states) among others.
On salary increase, it was gathered that the Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs Committee, set up by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, recommended about 180 percent salary increase for a university professor to be paid N2 million monthly.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Federal Government is currently reviewing the recommendations of the Nimi Briggs Committee, especially the salary of lecturers, which, it was learnt, was rejected by the government because it was said to be on the high side.
Apart from ASUU, all the non-academic staff unions in the universities are also on strike for the same welfare issues and government believes that this would further trigger fresh agitations by unions in other tiers of tertiary education, not minding the current economic crisis in Nigeria.
Following the strike extension, parents have knocked the striking public university teachers, saying the action is grossly unpatriotic.
A cross-section of them, including the National President of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NPTAN), Haruna Danjuma as well as the Deputy Vice President, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, on Monday condemned the extension.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, they said it was not only the Federal Government they could not trust again but also ASUU.
They said ASUU had no moral justification to continue with the strike after shutting down the activities in the universities for the past six months, if they genuinely have the interest of their students and their parents at heart.
Danjuma said even though government ought to have reached conclusion with ASUU over their lingering crisis before now, ASUU on its side is supposed not to insist on getting all its demands met by the government before going back to class.
He said severe damage had already been done not only to the education sector but the country economy at large by keeping students away from studies for this long and now to further keep them idle at home may cause irredeemable damage to the society.
He said ASUU should listen to appeal by parents and other stakeholders to call off the strike unconditionally so that normalcy could return to campuses. In his own reaction, Ogunbanjo said ASUU ought to have listened to the voice of reasoning from good people of Nigerians, especially parents and students and shifted grounds on its demands in the interest of the public.
He said even for the first instance, ASUU supposed not to dictate to its employers on particular salaries to be paid and on which platform let alone holding government to ransom as it is doing.
He said ASUU members are on continuous rolling over of strike because many of them according to him don’t have children in public universities and also doing part-time teaching in private universities.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, if he fails to resolve the strike by the ASUU within two weeks ultimatum handed him by the president.
National President of NANS, Sunday Asefon, while reacting to the four weeks extension of the strike by ASUU on Monday said the students were watching on what would be the outcome of the presidential directive.
But the Minister of State for Education, Rt Honourable Goodluck Nanah Opiah, has said that all hands are already on deck to see to the end of the strike in line with the directive of President Buhari.
Opiah, armed with the progress made so far, reassured that the strike would be called off soon.