The union made the announcement in a statement issued on Monday and signed by its National President, Emmanuel Osodeke.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced an extension of its ongoing more than five-month-old strike by another four weeks.
The union made the announcement in a statement issued on Monday and signed by its National President, Emmanuel Osodeke, citing the failure of the Nigerian government to fulfill its promises and heed the call.
Signed by its President, Emmanuel Osodeke, the statement noted that the decision was taken during an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council on Sunday at its headquarters located on the campus of the University of Abuja.
The union, however, thanked the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), affiliate unions and civil society organisations for trooping out to stage a nationwide protest between 26th and 27th of July.
ASUU said the emergency meeting of its NEC became necessary since it publicly announced a 12-week extension of the strike in May.
It said the Nigerian government has not shown commitment towards resolving the lingering crisis and said the additional four weeks will be observed to monitor the government’s seriousness and commitment to address its concerns.
The statement reads in part; “Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of Government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MOA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The role-over strike action is with effect from 12.01a.m. on Monday, 1st August, 2022.”
Ground for extension
ASUU said the NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations “as spelt out in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with ASUU on 23rd December 2020.”
The union said; “Specifically, NEC recalled that government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release agreed sum of money for the revitalisation of public universities (Federal and States), address proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, settle promotion arrears, release withheld salaries of academics, and pay outstanding third-party deductions led to the initial declaration of the roll-over strike on 14th February, 2022.
“NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks. The Union wonders why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for the government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.”
ASUU said it acknowledged “the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the union’s principled demand for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria.”
It, however, said the “non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.”
On Accountant-General’s trial
ASUU added that the Nigerian government does not need any additional evidence to bow to its superior argument on the corruption surrounding the deployment of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) and the need to adopt its innovation of the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), than the on-going trial of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris.
It said the trial of Mr Idris on allegation of fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of (IPPIS), noting that the “National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-à-vis IPPIS without further delay.”
“ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the union,” it warned.
ASUU declared a nationwide strike on February 14 over issues of poor welfare condition, failure to renegotiate earlier agreements signed and the alleged imposition of IPPIS by the government.
Due to what it termed failure of the government to heed its requests, the unions has consistently announced extension of the industrial action, grounding academic activities across the country’s public universities.
Meanwhile, its non-academic counterparts have also since embarked on similar strike, causing total grounding of the public university system in Nigeria.