Strike looms as ASUU says FG yet to clear three areas

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said that there are three areas in the Memorandum of Action it signed with the Federal Government in September 2017, which have not been fulfilled.

According to ASUU, the union cannot but continue to ask questions.

Its President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this in Abuja in an interview with our correspondent, noting that prominent among the three was the “NEEDS assessment funds” which, he said, totalled more than N200bn annually.

Asked whether the union would not embark on a strike action in 2018, Ogunyemi said the possibility of a strike action would be determined by the Federal Government’s commitment to the agreements it reached with the union.

He said, “Well, that is if the government works with us to deliver on the minimum which we have on the table now; we have an eight-point Memorandum of Action and, maybe, we have met three or thereabout. There are three or four pending. We are going back to them.

“Particular among them is the NEEDS assessment fund. We still have a negotiation that is going on, headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN. It has been on for about 14 months. We are not making much headway. It appears that some people somewhere want to frustrate us out of that negotiation.

“I don’t see any ASUU President that will tell you that the lecturers will not ask government questions. There is no ASUU President that can promise you that. Between 2013 and 2017, which major strike did ASUU embark on? That was clear four years. The allegation of an annual ritual of strike against us does not arise. The principles behind ASUU strike are clearly two or three.

“The first principle is that somebody must fight for the Nigeria’s university system. Otherwise, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools will befall the public universities too. Somebody must defend the integrity and mandate of the Nigeria’s university system. Two, it appears that all of us have gone to sleep in Nigeria. We sleep on our rights.”

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