Strike: No End in Sight, FG Not Serious - ASUU President

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The meeting held on Tuesday between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the government representatives was deadlocked. Mr Osodeke said the government “did not bring anything new to the negotiation table.”

asuu strike
ASUU President

“They (Nimi Briggs committee) came with nothing. What they came with is from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission which does not represent anything,” said the ASUU President.

Mr Osedeke also reiterated his comments that come 2023, Nigerians should only vote for leaders who will place priority on the country’s education sector and fund the universities.

“Anybody who in his campaign did not show they will revive the university system, they should vote them out. Anybody who you believe cannot take care of your interest, whose children are busy schooling abroad, do not vote for them. And I want to repeat it, you don’t need to vote for them,” he said.

Mr Osodeke listed the union’s major demands to include the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, a halt to the proliferation of universities, and the release of revitalisation fund, among others.

He also noted that until all these demands are met, the lecturers are not going back to classrooms.

“If we take education seriously it (the strike) would not have lasted beyond February (when it started),” said Mr Osodeke, accusing the government of insensitivity.

He said the public primary and secondary schools are no more the choice of Nigerians because “they have been destroyed by the government.”

He added that the evidence that ASUU’s struggle is yielding results is that about 90 public universities still house over 90 per cent of the total number of students in tertiary institutions in the country, despite the availability of about 120 private universities.

He said: “Nobody puts their child in public primary and secondary schools again. It has been killed because they didn’t fight for it. But come to the university system, I can tell you we have as of today about 120 private universities and about 90 public universities. The 90 public universities have 95 percent of all students. Why? Because of our (ASUU) struggle. If we didn’t do all these struggles, all the public universities would have been like the primary and secondary schools.

Mr Osodeke also said the strike embarked upon by his union is in the interest of the students and the betterment of the university system, saying only one of all of his union’s demands relates to the lecturers’ welfare.

According to Mr Osodeke, the number of industrial actions by academics in the United Kingdom (UK) in the last five years is similar to that of their Nigerian counterpart.

He argued that “it’s not about the number of strikes. It’s about the government’s response to the strike,” stressing that the government in the UK promptly attends to the demands of the academics.

He said that special advisers to President Muhammadu Buhari earn up to a million naira monthly while a professor in the academic sector is left to earn “meagre” N400,000.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment had said the contents of the draft agreement ASUU had with the Mr Briggs-led committee was not feasible as it increases ASUU members’ salaries by up to a 100 per cent.

But the ASUU President did not disclose the amount contained in the draft agreement it had with the committee.

Source: PremiumTimes

ASUU Press Release





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