On Sunday, a meeting of the National Executive Council of the notable Academic Staff Union of Universities began in Abuja, The PUNCH reports.
The union is expected to make a final decision on whether or not to continue with the union action that went into effect Monday (today) on the 196th day at the meeting held at the national headquarters at the University of Abuja.
At the time of this report being submitted on Sunday night, the meeting was still underway for fear the union would extend the strike based on the results of the meetings of most of its departments held last week.
ASUU had announced the start of a strike at the University of Lagos on Monday, February 14, 2022.
A member of the NEC, who did not want his name in print because he is not the union spokesman, told our correspondent in Abuja that most local congresses have voted to extend the strike.
“We expect nothing less. Most Congresses voted for an indefinite strike. The NEC makes decisions based on branch reports,” he said.
Another member said: “I can confidently tell you that the majority of ASUU branches across the country have voted for an indefinite strike. More than 90% voted for an indefinite strike. “‘
Ministry of Education kicks
Federal Ministry of Education spokesman Ben Goong in an interview with The PUNCHexplained that the government had taken all possible steps to end the strike.
He said: “As for the next steps, the government has already set up a committee to harmonize the IPPIS, UTAS and UP3. This ensures that the government pays with only one payment platform that aligns all technical details.
“If you make some demands and almost 80% have been granted, it is no longer necessary to drag the strike.
“It is unreasonable for the strike to continue as the government has tried to meet most of the demands.”
NAPTAN wades in
dr. Ademola Ekundayo, the public relations officer of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria, claimed in an interview with one of our correspondents that the university teachers were adamant about the strike because most of them work elsewhere.
Ekundayo said: “We are in an unfortunate situation and under normal circumstances, parents should not offer such incentives and help that they rejected, but we found that we are on the receiving end and bear the effect of the problem between FG and ASUU.
“And at the end of the day, ASUU will still be collecting their paychecks for the work they didn’t even do. The federal government has nothing to lose. Their children attend private universities.
“Many of the ASUU professors are part-time lecturers at private universities; they behave that way because they have nothing to lose. I tell you they will push parents and students to a level they cannot tolerate.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with one of our correspondents, the National Coordinator of the Congress of University Academics, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, called for broader discussions with more stakeholders in the tertiary education sector.
Sunmonu said: “The only solution is for the government to take immediate action and then short-term and long-term measures. From what we read in the papers, it seems that there has been a breach of trust between the two parties involved. The stakeholders who involved in university education are more than two; the union on the one hand and the government on the other.
“We have parents and alumni who are deeply concerned about the survival of their universities; we also have legal entities interested in the output of the universities. That is the best short-term solution that the government should adopt to solve this problem.”
Seadogs supports ASUU
Meanwhile, the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) on Sunday blamed the federal government’s disregard for education as the reason for ASUU’s continued union action.
In a statement titled “FG’s hollow hubris prolonging ASUU strike,” NAS leader Abiola Owoaje described the federal government’s stance as “thoughtless, reckless and insensitive to the plight of students, parents, the university system, and Nigeria as a country.”
Owoaje said: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s aloofness on critical issues such as the ASUU strike is disappointing. His ministers, following his lead, have treated the issues raised by ASUU with frivolity and utter contempt.