The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commenced an indefinite nationwide industrial action.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, President of the union disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Ogunyemi said the decision to embark on the industrial action was resolved at its emergency National Executive Council meeting held on Aug. 12.
According to him, during the strike, “there shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branches till government meets the union’s demands “.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the industrial action actually took effect from Aug. 13.
“The foundation of development of any nation lies on its attention to education. No nation can grow beyond the level of its educational development.
“”Any genuine move to transform Nigeria into an economically viable and politically stable country must begin with a firm commitment to an all round transformation of the country’s education.
“”ASUU has been vociferous on the primacy of the university education system because it is the repository of ideas for invention, innovation and national transformation.
““It is, however, disappointing that despite the prime importance of university education, the political class in Nigeria has continued to pay mere lip-service to addressing to lose the little gains achieved from the struggles of ASUU,’’ he said.
The ASUU president stated that the Wale Babalakin-led committee set up by the Federal Government lacked the powers to resolve the issue as there were unimplemented items in the 2009 agreement.
He said that government had ignored the system, stressing that the political class had also shifted attention to sending their wards to private universities and universities abroad leaving public universities in Nigeria to collapse.
“”Among the issues in current disputes involved in the 2009 agreement and 2013 MOU are funding for the revitalisation of public universities and earned academic allowances.
“Others include registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), University staff school, fractionalisation and non payment of salaries,’’ Ogunyemi said.
The union had embarked on a six-month strike between July and December 2013, but the strike was suspended when the government signed a MoU with the lecturers following a meeting with former President Goodluck Jonathan.
ASUU, however, claimed that of all the items contained in the MoU, only the N200b out of a total of N1.3tr of the Public Universities Revitalisation (Needs Assesment) fund was released.
The union had also embarked on a warning strike in November 2016 to press for the implementation of the 2013 MoU.
However, the government did not implement the understanding reached with the union based on an intervention by the Senate.
ASUU said it had also met with the 2009 Agreement implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) and had written several letters and press releases on the outstanding issues to no avail.
Ogunyemi, however, called on all patriots to prevail on owners of public universities to be alive to their responsibilities, adding that Nigerian university system should be given the attention they deserve.
NAN recalls that in Jan., President Muhammadu Buhari approved a 16-man committee, headed by Dr Wale Babalakin, to renegotiate the 2009 Federal Government agreement with the staff unions in the Federal Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
The committee was constituted with a view to engendering sustainable peace and industrial harmony in tertiary institutions. (NAN)