-ASUU declares “Comprehensive” Strike-
Normal research and learning would pause in all public universities in Nigeria from today (Monday, 14th August 2017), as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commenced “a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action.”
A bulletin signed by the Union’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, indicates that the strike action began yesterday.
The bulletin recalls a history of the Union’s strike actions over unresolved issues arising from an agreement that it signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in 2009, stating that one of such actions lasted between July and December 2013. That strike action was suspended after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Government. It explains that “of all the items contained in the MoU, only the two hundred billion out of a total of one trillion, three hundred billion naira of the Public Universities Revitalization (NEEDS Assessment) fund was released.”
The bulletin adds that: “The Union also embarked on a one week warning strike in November 2016 to press for the implementation of the 2013 MoU. However, Government did not implement the understanding reached between the Union and Federal Government….” It further explains that the Union “had written several letters, press releases and communique on the outstanding issues to no avail.”
As a result of this, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Union met at the University of Abuja yesterday (Sunday, 13th August 2017), to consider results from a referendum conducted in all its branches. The referendum sought inputs on the best way of convincing Government to implement unresolved aspects of the 2009 agreement and the MoU of 2013.
The Union’s bulletin on this strike lists the following, as unresolved aspects of the agreement and MoU, respectively:
1. Payment of fractions/non-payment of salaries.
2. Non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
3. Non-release of operational license of National Universities Pension’s Commission (NUPENCO).
4. Non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 Pension Reform Act with respect to Retired Professors and their salaries.
5. Removal of University Staff Schools from funding by Government.
6. Funds for the revitalization of Public Universities (implementation of NEEDS Assessment Report).
7. Poor funding of existing State Universities and proliferation of Universities by their Visitors.
The bulletin announces that the referendum’s result “showed that an overwhelming majority of the branches of our Union voted in favour of strike.”
It mentioned that its indefinite strike action is being embarked upon because it has exhausted all avenues to get Government to implement the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement.
As news of this strike spread among staff and students of Calabar campus of Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), some Lecturers of the Institution who spoke with LinCornellah’s blog stated that they were waiting for their branch of ASUU to formally announce directives from the National Executive Council (NEC). Academic activities were ongoing in that campus, at the time of filing this report.
Dr. Emmanuel Ettah, Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), CRUTECH branch, informed this blog that his branch would meet this Wednesday (August 16th, 2017).
This blog’s findings indicate that “poor funding of existing State Universities” as listed in unresolved aspects of the MoU with government, is a recurrent issue in CRUTECH. Sometimes, the Union embarks on fresh strike actions to press home its peculiar needs, after Federal Government-owned Universities suspend strike actions such as this current action.
Meanwhile, this strike action would be the first “indefinite” national strike action embarked upon by ASUU, since President Buhari’s administration began in May 2015.
The Union’s bulletin on this “comprehensive” strike prescribes that Lecturers should not render official services such as teaching, supervision of examinations, supervision of projects or theses and attendance at statutory meetings, throughout the duration of the strike.
This means that academic activities would be completely paralyzed in all public universities in Nigeria.
- Cornelius Ellah