September 6, 2022

Strike: FG, varsity managements in stormy session, may direct reopening of schools


Education Minister, Adamu Adamu

By Joseph Erunke

A meeting between the federal government, pro-chancellors and vice chancellors of federal universities aimed at finding lasting solutions to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is ongoing at the National Universities Commission, NUC, Abuja.

The meeting which began at 11am, Tuesday,has almost all vice chancellors and prochancellors of various federal universities across the country in attendance.

Journalists who came to cover the event were asked to stay outside.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu,in his remark before the meeting entered into close door, explained that the federal government was doing all its best to ensure universities are back to academic activities.

Adamu,who asked journalists to stay outside,said they would be briefed on the outcome of the meeting at the end of the close door session.

“In all, we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, Government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement. Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions,”he said.

Speaking further,he said:”“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions. I personally, gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, with figures, and with absolute sincerity. For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.

“To be frank with all the unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”. In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”

Recall that ASUU had on February 14,this year, began the ongoing strike.

Some federal and state universities have been grounded of academic activities since the commencement of the strike, forcing students to remain at home.

Some of the demands of the ASUU include funding for revitalisation of public universities; payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)/Earned Allowances (EA); payment of salary shortfalls; stop the proliferation of state universities by governors; setting up of Visitation Panels.

Others are renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for university lecturers and payment of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check – off dues.