ASUU: Anxiety as indefinite strike may begin today

• Nnamani, expert task FG, union on ending the deadlock
• Buhari govt has failed us, says Kogi TUC chairman

As the second round of an eight-week warning strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) comes to an end today, the union is preparing to announce an indefinite strike.

The second round of the warning was declared by ASUU after a meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) on March 14, at its University of Abuja secretariat.

Sources say the union’s national leadership will make its decision public today.

According to reports, NEC had previously authorised the national leadership to direct members to go on indefinite strike if no tangible results were achieved during the eight-week warning strike.

Many undergraduates are anxiously waiting for a review of the strike.

The Guardian gathered that two key issues that must be resolved before the union suspends its action are: renegotiation of the 2009 Federal Government-ASUU agreement bordering on the working conditions of Nigerian academics and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

While ASUU was into the second round of its warning strike, other staff unions in the university system also downed tools.

They are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Allied Institutions (NASU).

The Federal Government last week said it would resume negotiations with ASUU this week, with a view to ending the prolonged closure of universities.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this in his opening remark at a meeting between the government side and NAAT.

Ngige noted that the multiple industrial disputes in the education sector could have been averted if unions took advantage of his open-door policy.

When contacted, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union had not received any invitation from the government’s team as of the weekend.

He said: “We too heard in the news what the Minister of Labour said about meeting with us. But as we talk, nobody has reached out to us for any meeting. We don’t know when the meeting will be called.”

However, I think before going to the press to announce any proposed meeting, what ought to have been done is inform us. Anyway, we are waiting for the meeting when it is called.”

THIS was as former Enugu State governor and senator representing Enugu East, Chimaroke Nnamani, asked the Federal Government and ASUU to save education by resolving the impasse.

The senator, who was speaking at the 47th-anniversary reunion of the 1975 set of Anglican Girls Grammar School (AGGS), Awkunanaw, held in Abuja, at the weekend, decried the continued deadlock.

ALSO, an educational consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Avail International Consult Ltd, Omobola Agunbiade, called on the Federal Government and ASUU to end the stalemate.

Agunbiade made the call, yesterday, in a telephone conversation with The Guardian.

She said: “The ongoing strike has taken a toll on Nigerian students, and many are now tired and frustrated. I believe it’s time both the Federal Government and ASUU sheathe their swords and reach a truce in the interest of Nigerian students.”
She said her company is daily besieged by students and parents, who want to migrate to foreign countries to continue their education. 

MEANWHILE, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kogi State has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government over the lingering strike.

Chairman of TUC in Kogi, Comrade Ranti Ojo, who spoke during an interview with The Guardian, at the weekend, said Buhari’s body language towards the strike shows that his administration has no plan for the future of Nigerian youths.


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