Following the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum on Sunday handed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to the Federal Government to implement its demands, the lecturers appear set for another round of strike action if nothing is done urgently to forestall this.
National President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, said the Federal Government would hear from the Union in the next 24 hours the next line of action
He told Tribune Online that consultations were already with the various branches for a final position to be made known to the public soon.
Osodeke disclosed that the meeting of the principal officers of the Union was held on Sunday resolved to proceed on consultation with branches, adding that the consultation would be through within the next one day after which the union would come out with its position.
ASUU noted that the Federal Government only met one out of the demands of the Union which is the NEEDS assessment; the revitalisation funds of N30bn which it claimed only N20bn was paid to the universities.
He said: “It is the principal officers that met yesterday (Sunday)”, explaining that,” Following our procedures, we are going to the branches to consult them and then we will come to take the final decision.”
ASUU had on 15th November, 2021, given the Federal Government three weeks to accede to its demands or face another round of strike.
It was, however, gathered that the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, is making a last-ditch effort to stop the imminent strike action.
Recall that ASUU had threatened to embark on another round of strikes following the Federal Government’s failure to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) agreed upon*.
ASUU President, at a news conference at the union’s National Secretariat, University of Abuja, had called on parents and all patriotic Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible if it failed to address the issues within three weeks after the news conference.
According to him, despite the unions 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.
“Government of Nigeria should be held responsible should ASUU be forced to activate the strike it patriotically suspended.
“Finally, 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 said.