The ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may have assumed alarming dimension as the union officials have announced an extension of another four weeks.
This is coming as the rollover strike expired on July 31, 2022, a development that may have further compounded the woes of university undergraduates.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed the union’s decision on Monday, in a statement entitled, ‘Review of the Roll- Over Strike.’
He said the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union took the decision after 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).
Osodeke said 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, according to him, is with effect from 12.01a.m on Monday, August 14, 2022.
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 December 23, 2020.
NEC recalled that government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform, pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release agreed sum of money for the revitalisation 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 February 14, 2022.
ASUU NEC also 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 wondered why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.
He said, “NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the union’s principled demand for a 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.
“NEC appreciated the historic nationwide protest of 26th and 27th July, 2022 organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with civil society organisations (CSO) to further create awareness on the antics of the Nigerian ruling class to destroy public education.
ASUU renews its commitment to the struggles of NLC in championing the cause of the working and suffering Nigerians.
“NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.