Despite receiving N20bn from Nigerian govt, ASUU says strike action imminent

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ASUU-President-Prof.-Biodun-Ogunyemi
ASUU-President-Prof.-Biodun-Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, says it will not back down in its efforts to sanitise the university system in the country, especially in the area of welfare of its members.

Recall that on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the immediate release of N20billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in order to revitalise public universities.

But the National President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, said that government’s disposition to the development of education in the country, especially the university system, was becoming worrisome.

According to him, no meaningful development would be achieved if government fails to put issues concerning education in the front burner.

The unionist Ogunyemi said reneging on agreements government willfully entered into with ASUU had remained a major setback to the union’s efforts in taking the system to its deserved height.

“We are very saddened at the way government is handling the various agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it has entered into with us.

“We have remained focused and committed on our part to ensure that we keep our own side of the bargain, just as we have equally been patient.

“Now, in the face of all this, we still discover that government seems not bothered about what might happen, and that is why we are stating categorically that we will not hesitate to take necessary action to get government to understand us in our struggle to revitalise our universities.

“It is on this premise that we are calling on government to take immediate and active steps to restore the much needed sanity in our university system as well as the process of renegotiation with the union, to avert any possible act that could disrupt the academic calendar of Nigerian universities,’’ he said.

He said that just like the Nigeria Labour Congress, the union would not be held accountable for any action it may take, should government fail to do the needful.

According to him, the NLC had been calling on government to improve the wages of Nigerian workers, having reached several agreements with it, which he said, is similar to that of ASUU.”

He said that development of any country could only be achieved when the necessary things are put in place.

Meanwhile the Lagos zonal Coordinator of the ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, has called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on government to sincerely fulfill its promises.

He said this was to avoid another round of crisis in the country’s university system.

Sowande made the appeal at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos, as part of efforts at sensitising the general public on the travails of members of the union.

“Our members are extremely agitated and are ready to use all legitimate means to compel government to do the needful.

“Our expectations, therefore, are that there will be an immediate reconstitution of the current government renegotiation team to allow for a less fixated chairman of the ASUU/Government renegotiation team and a speedy completion of the exercise,’’ he said.

 

NAN