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Education Crisis: Why we extend strike by 4 additional weeks −ASUU

President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU

*Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, says the decision to extend the ongoing strike is to give the Federal Government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As the crisis in the country’s University system lingers, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), again, has extended the ongoing industrial action by four weeks.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of ASUU, disclosed this development through a statement the Union issued Monday, August 1, 2022.

The ASUU President stated the decision to extend the strike is to give the Federal Government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.

Prof. Osodeke, noted that the academic body convened an emergency National Executive (NEC) Committee meeting at the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) Sunday, July 31, 2022, said the extension is with immediate effect August 1.

He further stated: “Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of Government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MOA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.

“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 am on Monday, 1st August 2022,” the statement read.

“An emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Sunday, 31st July 2022.”

The statement also said: “The meeting was called to review developments since NEC’s resolution to extend its roll-over strike action by another 12 weeks with effect from May 2022.

“The NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations as spelled out in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) it signed with ASUU on 23rd December 2020.”

According to him, “specifically, NEC recalled the government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), release the agreed to sum of money for the revitalisation of public universities (Federal and States), address proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, settle promotion arrears, release withheld salaries of academics, and pay outstanding third-party deductions led to the initial declaration of the roll-over strike on 14th February 2022.

“NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks.”

ASUU as well stated the academics wonder why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for the government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.

Prof. Osodeke said: “NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the Union’s principled demand for globally competitive university education in Nigeria. “Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper and our scholars must be incentivised to stay back and do what they know best, here in Nigeria.

“NEC appreciated the historic nationwide protest of 26th and 27th July 2022 organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to further create awareness on the antics of the Nigerian ruling class to destroy public education.”

The academic union noted it renews its commitment to the struggles of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in championing the cause of the working and suffering Nigerians.

The ASUU Chief said: “NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Professor Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide.

“NEC further observed that the ongoing trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, on allegation of monumental fraud has vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS).

“The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-a-vis IPPIS without further delay.

“ASUU shall resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the Union.

Osodeke added: “NEC noted that cumulative indifference by the political class gave vent to a pervasive atmosphere of insecurity which now threatens the seamless provision of educational services in the country. “The unceremonious closure of educational institutions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the recent attack on Presidential Guards, betrays a panicky measure to addressing a malignant ailment.

“Nothing short of a comprehensive overhaul of the security architecture of the country will sustainably address the problem.”

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