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*We’ll let you know, says president

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, held its National Executive Committee meeting, Saturday, to review the progress of meetings held with zonal affiliate bodies following the recent expiration of its deadline to the federal government to meet its demands.

The meeting which was held at the union’s national secretariate, located inside the University of Abuja main campus, Vanguard gathered, took far-reaching decisions.

 The meeting which was also said to have started some few minutes past 3 pm, ended at about 8:30 pm.

But the union which had last week said Nigerians would know its next line of action immediately, following the expiration of its ultimatum and the inability of the government to accede to its demands, decided to keep mum on the outcome of Saturday’s meeting.

National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who was called to speak on the outcome of their deliberations, told Vanguard on the telephone, Sunday, that the union’s decision would be communicated to the public. He, however, declined to state when the decisions would be to the public.

“Asked to state when the communication would be made, he said, “We will let you know”, refusing to say anything further.

Also contacted to speak on the outcome of the Saturday meeting, the University of Abuja ASUU chairman, Dr Kasim Umar, declined comments, directing Vanguard to the national president of the body.

“It is only the national president of ASUU that can talk on the outcome of our meeting,” he told Vanguard.

There are concerns that the lecturers’ body may have resolved in the meeting to call out a nationwide industrial action to press home its demands.

Recall that a fortnight ago, Prof Osodeke had hinted that a meeting of the principal officers of the union held earlier, resolved that a consultation meeting be held with branches, saying the National Executive Committee meeting would come up short.

Recall also that the body had claimed that the federal government met only one out of the demands of the union.

According to ASUU, the demand met was only the revitalisation funds of N30bn which it claimed only N20 billion was paid to the universities.

Recall also that ASUU had on November 15, 2021, given the government a three-week ultimatum to accede to its demands or face another industrial action.

It had accused the federal government of failing to implement the Memorandum of Action, MoA, agreed upon.

The body had called on parents and all patriotic Nigerians to hold the government responsible if it failed to address the issues within three weeks.

Prof. Osokede had claimed that the government was yet to live up to expectations in spite of ASUU’s meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige on October 14, on major outstanding issues which include, funding for revitalisation of public universities and earned academic allowances.

Other outstanding issues, he said, were University Transparency Accountability Solution,UTAS, promotion arrears, renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, and the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, which up till now had not been addressed.

“ASUU is fully committed to upholding academic integrity in the universities and is working to make them more globally competitive. We are equally committed to promoting industrial harmony in the Nigerian university system for as long as all stakeholders are willing and committed to play their part.

“We call on all vice-chancellors, as the main drivers of the system to join us in this mission to safeguard the waning image of our universities.

“They have no business trading honorary degrees and academic positions for personal and immediate gains; thereby smearing the collective integrity of committed scholars and other patriots who are working day and night to uplift the system that produced them.

“Our union shall not shy away from taking the fight to administrators of Nigerian universities as well as internal and external agents who are bent on compromising the standards ASUU has consistently laboured to protect and improve. The government of Nigeria should be held responsible should ASUU be forced to activate the strike it patriotically suspended.

“We call on all patriotic Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria to prevail on the federal and state governments to act fast to prevent another round of industrial crisis in Nigeria’s public universities,” he had added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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