By Adesina Wahab & Joseph Erunke
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has called the bluff of the federal government over the directive to vice chancellors of the nation’s public universities to reopen the schools for resumption of academic activities.
The government, whose directive was contained in a circular by the National Universities Commission, NUC, specifically tasked the university managements to allow students to continue academic exercises.
Reacting to the directive, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke,
in a chat with Vanguard, said the FG was not talking to his members.
He said, “We are not holding the keys to the campuses. We did not shut down any university. Those who shut down the universities are the ones who can decide to open them or not.
“As for us going back to work, the government is not talking to us. We did not institute the case at the industrial court, some people took us there and we have done the needful of exercising our right to appeal,” he added.
On when the appellate court would hear the matter, Osodeke said no date has been fixed yet.
We are ready to work – CONUA
Meanwhile, the Congress of University Academics, CONUA, has said its members are ready to resume duty.
The National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, told our correspondent that his members were never on strike.
“We did not go on strike in the first instance and we were working until the management of the universities shut down the institutions. For instance, some of our members, including me, concluded our workloads before the closure. We are only unhappy that our members were lumped up with those who went on strike and our salaries were not paid,” he said.
Non-academic staff’s situation
In a related development, non-academic staff who suspended their industrial actions in August are yet to be paid their withheld salaries.
Findings by Vanguard showed that though they suspended their actions for two months and subsequently resumed work, they were last paid in March, this year.
Speaking in an interview, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the University of Lagos chapter, Comrade Olusola Sowunmi, said his members expected that at least a month’s salary be paid for easy commuting between homes and their offices.
He added that the development had put his members in a tight corner.
SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, also went on strike last March but suspended action for two months in August.
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since February 14 following alleged refusal of the FG to fulfill an agreement it entered with it in 2009.