We can’t rule out going on nationwide strike — ASUU

Fri, Feb 23, 2024
By editor
4 MIN READ

Education

UNLESS the Federal Government takes immediate steps and addresses the lingering contentious issues with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), public universities in the country may experience another round of nationwide strikes soon.

The Coordinator of Lagos Zone of ASUU, which comprises seven universities, Prof. Adelaja Odukoya, expressed this position on Friday at a news conference held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka.

The Lagos Zone of ASUU consists of UNILAG, the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo; Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun-Ijebu Ode; the Ogun State University (OSU) Ago-Iwoye; the Lagos University of Science and Technology( LASUST) Ikorodu; the Lagos University of Education( LASUED) Otto-Ijanikin; and the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB) Abeokuta.

Odukoya, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at UNILAG, said it is disheartening that the Federal Government has not shown serious commitment all these years and also now to bring genuine development to the nation’s public university education.

He maintained that all the issues that have been putting ASUU at loggerheads with the government have been in the best interest of Nigeria and its people, not ASUU members alone.
He said, unfortunately, the government would make their differences look to the public as if ASUU is fighting for its own cause alone.

The don highlighted some of those unresolved issues, including the non-injection of revitalization funds as agreed and also appropriated for in the 2023 Budget and in line with the Needs Assessment Report into the system, the proliferation of both federal and state universities without financial support, the prolonged delay in renegotiation of their 2009 Agreement, and the continuous use of “deceptive IPPIS” as an emolument payment platform.

Others are the continuous delay in the payment of their Earned Academic Allowances, the continuous use of Treasury Single Account (TSA) for university operations, the non-full payment of their eight-month withheld salaries, the non-recall of sacked ASUU officials at LASU five years ago, and the non-release of the university’s white paper on the 2021 Visitation Panel.

He emphasised that these issues had already pushed ASUU to the wall, and the union may take the last option of the labour-employer negotiation process if that is the only option for the government to wake up to.

He explained that ASUU had grown tired of dwelling on the same number of issues year in and year out, negotiating and renegotiating, and with mutual agreements reached and signed on each occasion, but with the government consistently reneging on its own terms.

According to him, the state of public universities in the country is unpalatable, and it is required that the political leaders take the matter very seriously and address it.

He declared that the university workers, particularly the lecturers, are made to suffer to train their students, and many of them go hungry and cannot also afford to go to hospitals when they are unwell.

Odukoya noted that virtually every day, they lost one member or another to avoidable deaths, adding that this is the common situation across public university campuses nationwide.

He, however, appealed again to the Federal Government and President Bola Tinubu in particular to take the issues raised very seriously and address them, as the union has already been pushed to the wall and may react in a way to shut down academic activities in the nation’s universities.

He also urged all lovers of good education, including students, parents, the media, the labour movement, civil society organisations, and other patriotic elements in and outside the country, to join ASUU in the struggle to reposition Nigeria’s public university system.

He said it would be difficult for Nigeria to experience genuine growth and development without quality education at all levels.

TRIBUNE

23rd February, 2024.

C.E.

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