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ASUU goes nuclear, floats indefinite strike

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“None of the [ASUU] branches, including the University of Abuja, voted for anything other than an indefinite strike.”

Abuja has mulled, then shelved, the idea of banning the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for daring to demand improvement in tertiary education and for going on strike for six months to press it home.

ASUU is not fazed.

It has overwhelming public support and is leveraging on it to go nuclear with an indefinite strike to make Muhammadu Buhari sit up and deliver on his promise.

Sources told reportes most of the 123 branches of ASUU have completed their congresses and the proposal for an indefinite strike would be ratified and adopted at ASUU National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on 28 August.

“None of the branches, including the University of Abuja, voted for anything other than an indefinite strike.

“All the branches of ASUU are expected to finish their congresses tomorrow (today) and pass their report to NEC,” said an ASUU leader who did not want to be named.

“NEC will have to meet and review the decisions of all of the branches and decide on what to do.”

The ASUU strike has dragged on since 14 February. It demands include

  • Funds to revitalise public universities
  • Payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)/Earned Allowances (EA)
  • Payment of salary shortfalls
  • Ending proliferation of state universities
  • Renegotiation of a 2009 agreement
  • Adoption of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for university teachers
  • Payment of non-remitted check-off dues

Education Minister Adamu Adamu disclosed last week the insistence of ASUU on the payment of withheld salaries was stalling negotiations.

He said the government has met all the demands of ASUU, except the payment of salary arrears during the strike which Buhari rejected.

Plan to deprive the poor of university education

Ibadan zonal ASUU has alleged “undertakers of privatisation” are waiting in the wings to take over federal government universities and deny university education to the children of the poor.

“What is unveiling before us is deceit, and readiness to bring university education to its knees after which the undertakers of privatisation will take over,” Zonal Coordinator Oyebamiji Oyegoke, a Professor, said in a statement, per The Nation.

“Nigerians should join ASUU to ask the federal government of Nigeria to tow the path of honour by respecting the agreement it freely entered with our union.

“As a body of intellectuals, our union demands: repositioning our universities for greater efficiency in national development and technological advancement; massive and sustained funding for our universities; a reversal of apparent decay in the university system; and enhanced and competitive remuneration for overworked academic staff in Nigerian universities.

“It is a sad commentary that a government which was brought into power by a popular mandate of the teaming Nigerian masses has turned full circle against a key agent of development like the education sector.

“We are pained as a union to observe this government, which is on its way out, keeps a date with history as it struggles to scribble a tragic epigram on our education sector. What a legacy to leave.

“The main issue involved in the current ASUU travails is about living up to responsibility or the abdication of it.

“If the government is not a continuum, ASUU as a body of intellectuals would not have been insisting on re-negotiating and implementing an agreement reached and signed with it in 2009 by federal government.

“An agreement reached with the government whose re-negotiation ought to have commenced in 2012, did not take off until 2017 under Mr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) who was challenged majorly by ASUU for recommending that students in Nigerian universities should pay up to a million naira per session as tuition fee.

“The recommendations of Munzali Jubril Committee of 2020 were equally rejected by the government. This committee was replaced lately by Nimi Briggs’s Committee in March 2022. For crying out loud, the government has its mind made up ab initio.

“All ASUU’s patriotic yearnings to repositioning public universities, whether federal or state, to serve as agents of developmental transformation do not cut any ice with the government.”

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