The Academic Staff Union of Universities has asked the citizens to hold the Federal Government responsible if it embarks on another strike.
Speaking on Tuesday after a rally and congress at the University of Lagos, Akoka, which was used to conclude the ASUU Lagos zone mobilisation, the Coordinator of the zone, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, said the lecturers were tired of unfulfilled promises by the government, which he accused of being unresponsive to their appeals.
The lecturers called on the Federal Government to implement the renegotiated 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement, which was expected to be reviewed every three years.
Odukoya said, “This sensitisation is, therefore, intended to bring to the public knowledge the refusal of the government to honour the agreement freely entered into with our union in December 2020 before the strike was suspended.
“Accordingly, Nigerians should hold the government responsible if another industrial action hits our universities in the not too distant time. We appeal to all genuinely progressive individuals and groups to prevail on the Nigerian government to arrest a brewing restive situation in the Nigerian university system before it degenerates into a serious crisis.”
Odukoya noted that the lecturers hated embarking on strikes except when it became inevitable.
He stated, “It is sad and shameful that the government has constituted itself into the major saboteur as it concerns the welfare of Nigerian academics. We also call on the government to approve the deployment of UTAS as a payment platform in our universities if we expect improvement in the operation and conditions of our ivory towers.
The most worrisome aspect is that while visitors to state universities have deliberately refused to fund the existing universities, they keep establishing new ones. ASUU wants to inform Nigerians that our members can no longer tolerate a situation where they work like elephants and eat like ants.”
The ASUU UNILAG Chairman, Dr Dele Ashiru, also explained that the members were being treated like subjects and not citizens.
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The University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, on Tuesday, stated that it would resist the alleged plan of the Federal Government to refuse to sign the renegotiated agreement.
Rising from the congress presided over by the Chairman, Prof Ayo Akinwole, the lecturers said they were in support of the decision of the leadership of the union to fight for the welfare of the members, whose welfare had been neglected for over 13 years.
While briefing journalists after the congress, Akinwole said lecturers had been pushed to the wall and would now fight back.
The University of Maiduguri chapter of the union said the government’s treatment of lecturers was worse than the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East for the past 12 years.
According to the chapter, ASUU in the university is compelled to join the national body in any strike action due to the continued reneging on the 2009 agreement.
The Chairman of ASUU in UNIMAID, Dr Abubakar Mshelia, said the lecturers would observe the lecture-free day declared by the national body today (Wednesday), while awaiting the resolutions of the National Executive Council meeting of Saturday, February 12, scheduled to hold in Lagos State.
The Gombe State University chapter of ASUU embarked on a nine-hour lecture-free session on Tuesday.
Arising from a congress on Tuesday, the Chairman of the chapter, Dr Suleiman Jauro, said lecture-free session between 3pm and 12am was to make the government to honour its agreement with the union.
He revealed the chapter would abide by the decision of the NEC on the proposed strike.
The Joseph Sarwuan University of Agriculture, Makurdi, on Tuesday, resolved to back the indefinite strike over unfulfilled promises by the Federal Government.
The Chairman of ASUU in the institution, Prof Simon Ejembi, who addressed journalists after the emergency congress lamented the refusal of the Federal Government to honour its agreement with the union.
The University of Port Harcourt chapter of the union said it was ready to resume its suspended strike following the Federal Government’s failure to implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU renegotiated agreement.
The Chairman of ASUU in the chapter, Uzoma Chima, said the union was tired of the empty and endless promises by the government and was now ready to resume the suspended strike.