The National Union of Electricity Employees has thrown its weight behind the planned solidarity protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU/NLC’s solidarity protest scheduled for 26th and 27th July 2022.
According to a letter signed by Joe Ajaero, general secretary, all members of the union are enjoined to massively mobilize and actively participate in the NLC/ASUU solidarity protest against the continued closure of the nation’s tertiary institutions.
It also encouraged them to work with the leadership of the state executive councils of the congress in their various states with a view to having a successful outing.
Ajaero noted that the decision was in response to NLC’s directive and the union’s own position which was made known at the central working committee and national executive council meeting of congress,
Their resolve to join in the protest comes in the hills of the controversies trailing the planed protest.
Recall that the fracas between the federal government and ASUU has been a reoccurring incidence in the history of Nigeria, and has continued to have a negative impact on the standard of Tertiary education in the country.
The present strike, which began on 14th of February 2022 with a-one month warning strike, has since extended into 5 months of unresolved agitations after several meetings between the various stakeholders, ASUU and the federal government.
ASUU had earlier revealed that some of its reasons for embarking on this current strike was because the government had failed to implement the agreements in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with it in 2009, and accused the government of poor commitment to the payment of academic earned allowance, EAA, the continued use of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and refusal to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, among others.
Since the beginning of the strike, there had been several accusations and counter accusations between the leaders of the bodies involved.
While ASUU has continued to accuse the federal government of insensitivity to the demands of the union and the plight of the Nigerian students, the federal government stated unequivocally that the situation was not as simple as it seemed.
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, disclosed during a Channels’ Television programme, “Politics Today,” that the government could not meet ASUU’s demands.
He said that the said promise was made by another administration, which promised to kick-start the payment and they paid N200 billion, which they borrowed from TETFund.
“They did not take it from the federation account. That payment spiralled even into 2016 to our regime.
“Government now said we don’t have the money to pay for it. This was the agreement in 2016 to 2017, but we will find a way by which we can fund the universities and revitalise infrastructure,” he said.
Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention has failed to yield any positive result as ASUU has continuously reiterated its desire to only sheath its sword when its demands are met.
As the strike continues to drag on with university students at the receiving end, several unions have expressed their support for ASUU by also planning to join the protest. Some of them are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.
In its own show of support, the NLC, which is the umbrella body of workers in Nigeria has declared a two-day solidarity protest in support of ASUU.