By Emmanuel Aziken,Â Victor Ahiuma-Young, Emmanuel Edukugho, Olubusuyi Adenipekun & Dayo Adesulu
ABUJAâ€”PRESIDENT of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, yesterday, advised members to prepare for a very long strike should government fail to address their grievances, even as the Senate Committee on Education said theÂ Federal Government had begun partial implementation of the agreement with ASUU.
Already, ASUU members in parts of the country have started staying away from lecture rooms and other academic activities in compliance with the directive of ASUU National Executive Council to embark on a total and indefinite strike.
Prof. Awuzie in a chat with Vanguard regretted thatÂ the industrial action would definitely disrupt the first and second semesters examinations in universities unless government moved fast to address the issues of contention.
He said the strike was taking off differently in the universities because leaders of ASUU in each institution had to hold congresses at their various institutions to announce to them the decisions of the national body.
According to him: â€œ Until the leaders of ASUU in various universities hold congresses to inform them of our decisions, they cannot begin the strike. Those of them that are close to where the decision was reached have commenced the strike. I can tell you that the action is on course.
It may end soon or not depending on government. We have told our members prepare for a long strike if government refuses to address our demand.â€
He said: â€œ The strike will not only affect schools that are about conduct their second semester examinations, it would also affect those that would be conducting their first semester examinations. So, the ball is in the court of the government.
Meanwhile, responding to the latest strike action by university lecturers,Â Chairman of the Senate committee on Education, Senator Joy, Emordi, has said that the Federal Government had already commenced partial implementation of the agreement with ASUU.
In an interview with Vanguard, Senator Emordi asserted that the only point of contention had to do with welfare and funding of the universities.
While encouraging all Nigerians to support the quest for better welfare provisions for university teachers which she said would stem the rate of brain drain from the country, she nevertheless called on the university teachers to put a human face to the plight of their students.