…FG keeps mum as parents seek quick resolution of strike
By Wahab Adesina
THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has again extended the ongoing strike by four weeks.
President of the union, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, who disclosed this in statement yesterday, said the decision was to give the government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.
Noting that the body conveyed an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the association at the University of Abuja on Sunday, the ASUU President said the extension was with immediate effect on August 1.
The statement read: “Following 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, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 am on Monday, 1st August 2022,” the statement read.
“An emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Sunday, July 31, 2022.
”The meeting was called to review developments since NEC’s resolution to extend its roll-over strike action by another 12 weeks with effect from May 2022.
FG keeps mum, parents seek quick resolution of strike
The Federal Government did not, however, react to the extension of the strike by ASUU by another four weeks.
The Director of Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Ben Goong, when called on phone, sent a text message that our correspondent should send a text message, which was done and at press time, he did not reply.
He had, however, told our correspondent a couple of weeks ago that he was not given the mandate to speak on matters relating to ASUU strike.
Meanwhile, parents, under the auspices of the National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, have called for a quick resolution of the face-off.
The National President, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said: “We must get to the end of this issue as fast as possible. Our children have stayed at home for no justifiable reasons for too long. ”The government should come out with their own offers so that the striking workers would know what to talk about and stakeholders like us can then come in.”
“The ASUU NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations as spelled out in the Memorandum of Action, MOA, it signed with ASUU on December 23, 2020.
Specifically, NEC recalled the government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, release the agreed to sum of money for the revitalization 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.
“NEC 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 wonders why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.
“NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for 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.
“NEC further observed that the ongoing trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Mr Ahmed Idris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS). The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, vis-a-vis IPPIS without further delay. ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the Union.
“NEC noted that cumulative indifference by the political class gave vent to a pervasive atmosphere of insecurity which now threatens the seamless provision of educational services in the country. The unceremonious closure of educational institutions in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, following the recent attack on Presidential Guards, betrays a panicky measure to addressing a malignant ailment. Nothing short of a comprehensive overhaul of the security architecture of the country will sustainably address the problem.”