By Uche Amunike
Different zones of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have called on Nigerians, Friday, to appeal to the Federal government to keep to their words by signing the Memorandom of Association (MoA) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), as another ASUU strike looms, seeing that her 3-week ultimatum given on 15 November has expired.
Speaking, during a meeting of the Ibadan Zone of the union at Ilorin, their Coordinator, Professor Oyebamji Oyegoke stated that the Union has been taken for granted over the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Action reached with the government in 2020, and added that another ASUU strike looms as a result of their failure to fully implement the MoA.
The Ibadan Zone is made up of the University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, Osun State University, Kwara State University and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.
The Yola zone also made an appeal to well-meaning Nigerians, seeing as another ASUU strike looms, to get the government to fulfill their promise.
The coordinator, Dr Reuben Jonathan on his part, informed Media men at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, that as the ASUU strike looms, the government is to be held responsible for the effects it will have on the education sector and society generally.
Hear him: ‘Though education is an inalienable right of every Nigerian child, we are aware that due to the flagrant neglect and frustration of Nigerian public universities, government functionaries are deliberately denying the poor Nigerian children access to university education as their children are secured in private universities all over the world’.
He made a call to the general public and concerned citizens of Nigeria to redeem public universities by urging the government to keep to their end of the bargain.
The coordinator of the Abuja zone of ASUU, Dr Salahu Lawal had a media parley with newsmen on Thursday. He said that the Federal government was yet to respond to their demands, even after the three-week ultimatum expired and stressed that by the government’s nonchalance, another ASUU strike looms in the not-too-distant future.
He further stated that the government pointedly ignored outstanding issues in the MoU of December 2020 and the Memorandum of Agreement signed with the Union in February 2019.
The zone is made up by the Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Federal University of Technology, Minna and the University of Abuja.
His words: ‘Our union finds it highly hypocritical for a government to freely sign MoU or MoA to get ASUU to suspend a strike and then turn around to ignore their implementation’.
‘More than one year since our union suspended the nine-month long national strike, the Federal Government is yet to respond to key demands’, he said.
According to him, their demands are as stated below from the Federal government:
‘Our demands remain the full implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement as renegotiated in 2021, based on ILO’s collective bargaining principles’.
‘The implementation of all outstanding provisions in the February 2021 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action’.
‘The immediate deployment of ASUU’S innovation of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation, called the UTAS’.
‘Immediate payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and promotions arrears to our members’.
‘Immediate release of the report of the Presidential Visitation Panels to federal universities in 2021’.
‘Immediate action on the recommendations of the Committee on State Universities’.
Meeting the above demands will solve the problem of the deplorable conditions Nigerian university students live and learn in, stated Lawan. He urged relevant stakeholders to convince the government to honour the agreement with the Union and avoid more crisis, even as another ASUU strike looms