WHY STRIKE MUST CONTINUE,BY ASUU

FROM the Academic Staff Union of
Universities (ASUU) Thursday came a
declaration: No calling off of the current
strike until all demands are met.
At a briefing in Lagos, ASUU’s
President, Dr Nasir Issa Fagge described
the much advertised government’s
intervention in the current impasse as full of deceit
and lacking in integrity.
Besides, Fagge insisted that the period of
negotiation was over with the signing of the
agreement between the Federal Government and the
union in 2009, stressing that government should
rather move towards implementing the agreement.
Fagge explained that the government team, at the
latest meeting between the two parties held last
Monday in Abuja, spoke with a tinge of finality and
declaring its unpreparedness to implement the
agreed massive injection of funds to revitalise public
universities.
The ASUU president also expressed shock at the
government’s declaration that it would not pay
university academics their earned allowances which,
he stated, had accumulated from 2009 to 2013 but
would rather propagate the provision of N30 billion to
assist various Governing Councils of Federal
Universities to defray the arrears of N92 billion owed
to all categories of staff in the university system.
For those clamouring that ASUU should soft pedal
on the negotiation, Issa-Fagge argued that they had,
so far met with government 10 times since the action
commenced on July 2, 2013.
He said: “ASUU was shocked at the level of deceit,
dishonesty and lack of integrity displayed by
government. Here was a government that has been
propping on the union at least since the release of
the MoU in January 2012. Never in the history of
ASUU-Government relations have we, as a union,
ever experienced the kind of volte-faced exhibited by
government.”
Fagge disclosed that the Secretary of the Federation
ridiculed the agreement, the MOU and the Needs
Assessment Report, mocking the Minister of
Education to “go and give them N400 billion, at
which point, members of the government team
scornfully laughed.”
According to him, the meeting was highly
bewildering, embarrassing and highly unacceptable.
“ASUU cannot believe that the agreement, MOU and
the Needs Assessment Report, undertaken and
endorsed by the highest public officials in the land
would be so blatantly ridiculed by the same people,”
he said.
Fagge, who vowed that the union would never shift
its ground on the agreement, also affirmed: “At this
point, we can’t be talking about shifting ground
because we shifted grounds in 2009. In 2006, ASUU
presented demands and government also presented
demands and we succeeded in reducing the
demands through an agreement reached in 2009,
after three years of negotiation. At this point, we are
not talking about negotiation but implementation of
agreement duly signed by both parties.”
Fagge hinted that the Union may opt out of the
Suswam-led committee, based on principles, as the
committee “lacks the will to effectively resolve the
crisis.”
Besides, he maintained that ASUU would not be
corrupted. “Chaos has become the order of the day,”
he averred, “and our goal is to ensure that
orderliness emerges at the end of this.
It is a shame that the government is talking about
pace when we continue to churn out graduates of
English who can hardly write English language or
medical doctors who have not been exposed to
manikins and are expected to perform surgeries. The
major aim of our struggle is to see that change is
effected in this country.”
The issues involved in the current industrial
dispute include: Funding requirements for
revitalising the Nigerian universities; Federal
Government Assistance to State Universities;
Progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation
to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020,
and Earned Allowances.
Others are: Amendment of the pension/retirement
age of academics on the professorial cadre from 65 to
70 years, Establishment of the Pension Fund
Administrator, Governing Council; Transfer of Federal
Government landed properties to universities as the
setting up of research and development units by
companies operating in Nigeria as well as teaching
and research equipment.

16 responses to “WHY STRIKE MUST CONTINUE,BY ASUU

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