The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its lingering strike. The decision was reached after the National Executive Council meeting at ASUU’s headquarters in the University of Abuja on Monday morning.
ASUU had blamed the government for failing to meet its demands which led to the suspension of its strike in 2020. The government was faulted for not releasing revitalization funds for universities, not releasing the white paper report of the visitation panel to universities and its failure to deploy the University Transparency Accountability System to pay salaries and allowances of lecturers.
Their demands also covered renegotiating the ASUU-FG 2009 agreement and ending the proliferation of universities by the state government and lawmakers.
A member of NEC who pleaded anonymity disclosed that the strike has been extended and communication has been decentralized. Mandates have been received to engage more with the media and the public to educate them in the struggles.
As a result of the prolonged strike witnessed across the country, some institutions have decided to disobey ASUU by resuming academic activities.
The Management of the Ekiti State University at Ado Ekiti has decided to reopen the institution for academic activities, defying the ongoing strike prescribed by ASUU. Students of Ekiti State University were directed to resume academic activities on Monday, 29th August 2022. However, the ASUU chapter of EKSU said the management is on its own.
The EKSU chapter of ASUU had joined the six-month-old strike following the demand by the union for adequate funding of the universities and the implementation of other reforms contained in an earlier agreement with the federal government.
The National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) has, however, proposed the payment of a minimum of N10,000 per parent in every academic section to end the strike but ASUU outrightly rejected the proposal, urging them to put pressure on the federal government to fulfil the terms in the agreement.
The NAPTAN’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Ademola Ekundayo, in a recent interview, decried the unending closure of universities in Nigeria, lamenting that parents are the ones suffering from the disagreements between ASUU and the federal government.
Responding to the proposal, ASUU, through its national president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, rejected the offer during an interview on Arise Television on August 24, 2022, urging NAPTAN to rather mount pressure on the federal government.
The Federal Government of Nigeria scheduled a compulsory interactive meeting with Pro-Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors and Chairmen of the Council of Federal Universities on September 5, 2022.
On the other hand, the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) has asked the federal government to wrap up its registration.
CONUA was formed as a parallel academic staff union at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in February 2018, following a leadership crisis that rocked ASUU at the time, and since then has been seeking formal recognition.
Lamenting the cost of ASUU’s strikes, CONUA’s first chairman, Niyi Sunmonu, said, “Between 1999 and 2021, Nigerian public universities had experienced strikes for 1,417 days which translated to over 5 years! The ongoing strike is in its sixth month now! This has caused damage in no small measure to teaching and research”.
We cannot be doing the same thing the same way for many years and expect different results. As a union, we are committed to the entrenchment of quality ideas that will stand the test of time in Nigerian universities,” he said.
He promised that, “It will be the dawn of a new era when CONUA is handed the legal recognition by the Federal Government. It will provide alternative perspectives for the achievement of constructive engagement with stakeholders, thereby making hitch-free academic calendars possible.”