The Academic Staff Union of Universities has finally made true its threat and declared a “comprehensive and total” strike.
The strike was announced during a press conference addressed by the President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, on Monday.
He explained the strike, which takes effect from Monday, February 14, 2022, would last for an initial period of four weeks.
The ASUU chairman said the union tried to avoid the strike but the Federal Government is unresponsive to the union’s demands.
Osodeke also said ASUU NEC faulted the creation of new universities.
“NEC resolved to embark on the four-week roll-over total and comprehensive strike as the government has failed to implement the Memorandum of Action it signed with the ASUU in December 2020.
“We invite all lovers of education to join our struggle for a greater Nigeria. Nigerian politicians keep proliferating educational institutions without prioritising education.
“ASUU will not relent in its historic responsibility of advocating for an improved university system.
“This is because it holds the key to our collective prosperity and better future for our children and our children’s children; so, let us work together to fix it,” he said.
ASUU asked the Federal Government to call the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, to order over the unpaid Earned Academic Allowances of its members in the university.
“We have an agreed template with FG but the VC refused to pay. Failure to pay using that template is a misappropriation. He should be cautioned,” the ASUU president noted.
ASUU had sensitised and mobilised lecturers and students across all universities on the reason the union might likely go on strike.
It would be recalled that the union had expressed grievances over the failure of the Federal Government to fulfil some of the agreements it made as far back as 2009. ASUU had on November 15, 2021, given the federal government a three-week ultimatum over the failure to meet the demands.
The lecturers threatened to embark on another round of industrial action following the alleged “government’s unfaithfulness” in the implementation of the Memorandum of Action it signed with the union, leading to the suspension of the 2020 strike action.
After the union’s National Executive Council meeting at the University of Abuja on November 13 and 14, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, lamented that despite meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on October 14, 2021, on issues, including funding for revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution; promotion arrears, renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, and the inconsistencies in Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System Payment, none of its demands had been met.
Following the threat, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, promised that the union would be paid.
A few weeks after, ASUU suspended the planned strike, as N22.1 billion earned allowances were paid to lecturers in federal universities.
On the heels of the union’s renewed agitations, the co-chairmen of the National Inter-religious Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, visited the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), last month, over the lack of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding the government signed with ASUU in 2009 and others.