ASUU Threatens Fresh Nationwide Strike, Gives Reasons

It is not a good time for Nigerian students as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has threatened to embark on another nationwide strike to protest absence of governing councils in all federal universities across the country among other issues the government is yet to address.

The body which recalled that the federal government dissolved governing councils of the universities in May, last year, has asked Nigerians to hold the government responsible for any decision it takes to protest the action of government.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke who is the President of ASUU, spoke at a press conference monitored by Africa Today News, New York in Abuja, disclosed that the union rejected all the “ongoing illegalities and flagrant violation of university autonomy in public universities as a result of non-reinstatement/reconstitution
of Governing Councils.”

Osodeke insisted that Nigerians must hold the federal and state governments responsible if the matter of governing councils was allowed to degenerate into an avoidable industrial crisis.

The latest ASUU statement came following its National Executive Council, NEC meeting, held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, between Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th May, 2024.

At the meeting, the union undertook a dispassionate and comprehensive review of the status of its engagements with Federal and State Governments on how to reposition Nigeria’s public universities for global reckoning and competitiveness.

Read Also: ASUU FUTA: Student Loans Made To Deprive Public Universities

The meeting also took a critical look at the worsening living and working conditions in universities and the nation at large.

Osodeke said the meeting received alarming reports on the failed promises of the Federal and State governments towards addressing the lingering issues that forced the union to embark on the nationwide strike action of February-October 2022.

He said: ”As our union has consistently stated, salary awards are no substitutes for a negotiated Agreement. Each negotiated Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) and ASUU is a comprehensive package that captures not the just salary component but also a gamut of requirements for benchmarking a competitive university system designed for addressing the developmental challenges of Nigeria.

“ASUU’s demand for negotiated salary and other conditions of service is anchored on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 98 which underscores the principle of collective bargaining.

“The last FGN/ASUU Agreement was in 2009. Consequent upon the union’s advocacy spanning almost one decade, our union went into the renegotiation with the FGN as in 2017.”

On the issue of governing councils, he said,”the NEC observed with dismay the continued erosion of autonomy of public universities, contrary to the provisions of the Universities Miscellaneous Act (1993, 2012).”

He added:”The illegal dissolution of Governing Councils by the Tinubu Government and many state governments has paved way for all manner of illegalities in the Nigerian university system.

“University administrations now place advertisements for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor without authorization from the appropriate quarters – the Governing Councils.

“Outgoing vice-chancellors, working in cahoots with the federal and state ministries of education, are illegally running the universities on daily basis.

“They routinely usurp the powers of Governing Councils to recruit and discipline staff as well as manage university finances in manners bereft of transparency and accountability, ” he added.

The union further lamented the unending grip of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, saying that the platform is a fraudulent one that inflicted unprecedented hardship on Nigerian academics and corruptly distorted university operations with respect to payroll management.

Africa Today News, New York

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