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Friday, July 12, 2024

ASUU puts Nigerians on notice over impending strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday asked Nigerians to hold the federal government responsible if its members embark on another nationwide strike soonest.

The union said to avert the looming industrial action in public universities, President Bola Tinubu should sign and implement the 2009 agreement concluded in 2021.

ASUU also informed Nigerians that the current administration is not ready to fund education, in particular the university system, which has been underfunded by successive governments.

The union’s position on the impending strike and other outstanding demands were stated by ASUU Lagos Zone at a press briefing held at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye Ogun State, which was attended by branch chairmen and other executives.

The Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Adelaja Odukoya, said, “Our members have been stretched beyond their elastic limit of patience.”

Odukoya urged the Tinubu-led Federal Government to without further delay, set in motion machinery for the immediate signing and implementation of the renegotiated agreement to avoid another round of industrial crises in the public universities.

According to him, the refusal of the federal government to sign and implement the concluded renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement is a criminal violation of the collective bargaining principles as enshrined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention.

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He explained that the renegotiated agreement was concluded in 2021 after five years of renegotiation for which both the government and ASUU committed huge resources, with the hope of achieving a reversal of the dwindling fortune of universities as the apex agency of human capacity development.

“With the deliberate refusal of the federal government to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement, our members are agitated,” Odukoya stated.

He listed ASUU’s demands to include the deliberate refusal of the government to sign and implement the re-negotiated FGN/ASUU agreement, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and arrears of promotion, non-release of 3rd party deductions and criminal failure to implement the recommendations of the white papers on visitation panels to federal universities and refusal to address the unending retrogressive proliferation of universities.

He said, “Owing to these matters, It is the considered opinion of our union that we owe the Nigerian people the onerous responsibility of providing the truth in the course of discharging our patriotic duty as Nigerian academics and the intellectual conscience of the Nigerian state.

“Without any modicum of doubt and equivocation, NEC was convinced that the Tinubu-led administration did not have a proper grasp of the required urgency for massive financial intervention in the education sector and most importantly, the university system as the most veritable avenue for turning around the declining economic fortune of  the country.”

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He added that the government seems to be determined and unwilling to embrace a patriotic approach for funding of universities to drive development.

Odukoya insists that the issues in contention could be immediately resolved if President Tinubu would perform the functions of his office by immediately meeting directly with the leadership of the union.

“The President should make good his promise to the Nigerian nation that “No child of school age would stay at home due to avoidable industrial unrest in our ivory towers,” he added.

The union called on Nigerians, public-spirited individuals and lovers of education to prevail on the Tinubu-led federal and other state governments to take urgent and immediate positive steps to arrest the mindless and deliberate destruction of the education sector.

The zonal coordinator prayed that the federal government would see reason and heed the union’s call.

He warned: “ASUU would however wish to put the Nigerian public on notice that the government should be held responsible if our public universities were again goaded into another preventable crisis.”

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