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  • Why We Called Off Strike – ASUU
  • The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has, Thursday,
    suspended the over three months-old strike it embarked upon since
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018.
    ASUU Strike: INEC alleges 2019 Elections under threat
    The union suspended the strike after a memorandum of Action,
    MoA, it reached with the Federal government towards the
    revitalisation of public universities.
    The ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who
    announced the suspension, however, said that the union had
    embarked on the strike to “stem the continued slide into rot and
    decay in public universities since the 1980s.”
    He however decried the unpatriotic attitudes of some university
    chancellors whom he said tried to undermine the union’s struggle
    towards ensuring that universities in the country are revitalised.
    The statement reads thus:
    “ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), NATIONAL
    SECRETARIAT. TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC
    STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH
    FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
    HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA
    Protocol
    Friends and compatriots of the Press, On Sunday, 4th November,
    2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its
    strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th
    September, 2017.
    The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a
    Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of
    Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a
    timeline that was to end in October 2017.
    While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action,
    however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not
    hesitate to review its position should government renege on the
    signed Memorandum of Action”.
    Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach,
    thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.
    Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last
    thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth
    intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right
    on our university campuses.
    This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-
    disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators
    of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of
    ASUU.
    Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo
    to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences
    strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the
    mercantile disposition to university education.
    Why Strike Action? The question has been asked time and time
    again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes
    disruption and dislocation in the universities?
    However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight
    the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary
    and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public
    university system in Nigeria.
    ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot
    and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf
    ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive
    governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements
    only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health,
    transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living.
    This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which
    wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be
    tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.
    ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was
    situated in the context of accumulated records of indifference and
    lackadaisical attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with
    the Union.
    At our media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd December,
    2018, we highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include
    the following:
    – Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the
    FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017
    – Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a
    leader and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has
    the interest of the nation and the people at heart.
    – Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic
    allowances (EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA
    and mainstreaming of same into the 2018 budget.
    – Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met
    the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on
    Continuous Audit (PICA)
    – Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to
    engage Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding
    of university education and undue interference in the affairs of the
    universities
    – Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO
    – Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin
    A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution To date, ASUU
    has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with representatives
    of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of
    2019.
    Highlights of the MoA include the following:
    In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only
    would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would
    resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
    Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic
    allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36
    months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the
    annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
    PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at
    the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th
    February 2019.
    Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned
    Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019
    to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and
    governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
    Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the
    University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose
    appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February,
    2019.
    Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating
    the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of
    operational license to NUPEMCO.
    Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively by
    11th March, 2019.
    Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of
    parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of
    2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and
    end by Friday 29th March 2019.
    Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made
    extensive consultations through its various organs. The final level of
    consultation was the meeting of the National Executive Council
    (NEC) which took place 6th-7th February 2019.
    NEC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of
    engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for
    addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and 2017 MoA, NEC
    resolved that the current strike action by the Union should be
    suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th
    February 2019.
    However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the agreement
    as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume
    its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.
    Conclusion
    ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of
    some vice-chancellors in the management and application of funds
    attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities.
    Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors
    who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted
    to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalisation of public
    universities in Nigeria.
    ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-
    Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and
    other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and
    the progressive development of our universities.
    Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to
    relevant authorities for further action.
    Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support
    demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all
    through the strike period.
    We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria
    Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected
    President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout
    the struggle.
    We also acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society
    organisations, especially the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the
    Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and members of the progressive
    wing of the media who have consistently partnered with us in our
    mission to rescue Nigerian public universities from imminent
    collapse.
    While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope
    and desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will
    play the roles expected of them in order to make the new
    Memorandum work.
    We shall never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a
    sound university system.
    For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!
    Thank you for listening.
    Biodun Ogunyemi
    President
    7th February 2018”

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