BusinessDay

ASUU extends strike by four weeks

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its strike action by another four weeks, and takes effect Monday, August 1, 2022.

Since February 14, Nigerian universities have shut down over failure of government to honour the agreement it entered with the Union. Last week, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other unions held a two-day nationwide solidarity protest in support of the strike action, but the Nigerian government is yet to take any decision to address the issues and alleviate the plight of students.

Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the union who announced this in a statement on Monday said the extension would give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.

He informed 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 roll-over strike action by another 12 weeks with effect from May 2022.

“Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of the 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,” Osodeke said.

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The president further explained that 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.

He added that the NEC also decried the non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Nimi Briggs-led Committee.

He argued that the ongoing trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS). The president urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-a-vis IPPIS without further delay.

“ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the Union,” he stressed.

“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 stated.

“NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for globally competitive university education in Nigeria. Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper and our scholars must be incentivised to stay back and do what they know best, here in Nigeria.

“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. The role-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 am on Monday, 1st August 2022,” the president stated.

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