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ASUU EMBARKS ON STRIKE

By Azubunke Chikanele, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja
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The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) on Monday, announced the resumption of an indefinite strike action.

Comrade Biodun Ogunyemi, the National President of Academic Staff Union of Universities stated this in Abuja while briefing newsmen.

He hinted that the Academic Staff Union of Universities has no option than to embark on indefinite strike since the Federal and State Governments failed and reneged to implement a substantial part of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement which led to series of strikes that included total, comprehensive and indefinite strikes action between 2011/2012.

The ASUU National President said that Academic Staff Union of the Universities based on wider consultation with her members across the country came up with a resolution after an emergency meeting of 12th August 2017 resolved to commence an indefinite strike action starting from Sunday 13th August 2017, he said “The nationwide action is total and comprehensive. During the strike, there shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branches”

He stressed that these strike actions forced the government to conduct a nationwide assessment of the needs for addressing the problem and decay in Nigeria public universities, and the report of threat assessment released in July 2012 which called for the immediate and total intervention to revive the universities.

Comrade Ogunyemi however, regretted the failure of the governments to address these issues as contained in the report which the government approved “the failure of series of consultations, dialogues and interventions by well-meaning Nigerians to get government to do the right thing, once again, compelled our union to embark on another strike action in 2013”

He opined that the strike action led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government on 11th December 2013 to reinforce and implement provisions. In the agreement/MoU which includes major items such as funding for revitalization of the university system, amounting to N1.3 trillion in 6 years based on yearly release of N220billion in 2013.

The ASUU President further stated that after the release of the initial sum of N200 billion with the signing of the MoU by the Federal Government hope has since been dashed.

He said since then, it is no longer news that major aspects of the 2009 agreement and 2013 MoU have remained unimplemented which the association had highlighted few weeks ago through the media publication.

For the purpose of emphasis, ASUU said that the key issue for this current industrial dispute includes funding for the revitalization of public universities earned academic allowances; Registration of Nigeria Universities Pension Management Company and pension matters; Address the issue of Universities staff schools; and fractionalization/non-payments of salaries.

Comrade Biodun Ogunyemi also emphasized that on 16th November, 2016, ASUU again embarked on one-week warning strike to further sensitize stakeholders on the pending dispute but what appear to be efforts geared towards addressing the problem immediately stopped as soon as that strike was suspended on 22nd November, 2016 and the union has done its best with series of letters, meetings and consultations so that the government will address the problem all proved abortive.

He stated that their effort and reason to embark on strike is patriotic to ensure that public universities secure the future of Nigerian children. The federal and state governments should implement the provision of 2009 agreement, the MoU of 2013 and the November, 2016 understanding before the strike will be call-off.

On the state of the nation ASUU frowned at the failure of those in government to arrest the deterioration in critical sectors, which they said includes high cost of living, chronic unemployment, preventable diseases, collapse of family values, increase wave of crimes and criminality escalating insurgency, ethnic jingoism and hate speeches which they classified as a coming national crises.

He said while majority of Nigerians are facing mass poverty and bad human living conditions the very small minority still flaunt their stolen wealth which they said the wide gap between the rich and the poor should be quickly addressed.