ASUU SUSPENDS STRIKE

0

ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (asuu)

NATIONAL SECRETARIAT

THE TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES

(ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS

HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA

Protocol

Friends and compatriots of the Press,

On Sunday, 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities

(ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th

September, 2017.

The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of

a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria

(FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was

to end in October 2017. While announcing the suspension of the nationwide

action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not

hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed

Memorandum of Action”. Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the

breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.

Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU

members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual

engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university

campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of

“non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of

some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.

Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to

prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike

situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile

disposition to university education.

Why Strike Action?

The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like

embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the

universities?

However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to

fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public

primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public

university system in Nigeria. ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the

continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s

has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that

successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements

only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health,

transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living. This

proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the

insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and

resisted by all people of goodwill.

ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in

the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical

attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union. At our

media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd December, 2018, we

highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:

– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the

FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017

– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader

and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of

the nation and the people at heart.

– Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances

(EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of

same into the 2018 budget.

– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met

the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous

Audit (PICA)

– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage

Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of

university education and undue interference in the affairs of the

universities

– Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO

– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin

A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution

To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with

representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of

2019. Highlights of the MoA include the following:

1. In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would

be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume

full implementation of the MoU of 2013.

2. Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic

allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36

months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual

budgets beginning from 2019 budget.

3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary

shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not

later than 15th February 2019.

4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned

Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to

look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to

consistently deliver on its mandate.

5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in

the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose

appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.

6.

Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating

the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of

operational license to NUPEMCO.

7. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively

by 11th March, 2019.

8. Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of

parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009

which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by

Friday 29th March, 2019.

Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive

consultations through its various organs. The final level of consultation

was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) which took place 6th

-7th February, 2019. NEC resolved that:

Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal

Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and

2017 MoA, NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should

be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th

February, 2019. However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the

agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume

its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.

Conclusion

ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice

chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our

Union to Nigeria’s public universities. Consequently, we condemn, in the

strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and,

in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the

revitalization of public universities in Nigeria. ASUU will not shy away

from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of

impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to

university culture and the progressive development of our universities. Our

union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant

authorities for further action.

Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by

patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike

period. We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria

Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President,

Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle. We also

acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially

the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and

members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently

partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities

from imminent collapse.

While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and

desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the

roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work. We shall

never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university

system. For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!

Thank you for listening.

Biodun Ogunyemi

President

7th February, 2018

Use your ← → (arrow)

LEAVE A REPLY