Hope for Nigerian universities academic calendar to recover from years of incessant disruptions as a result of perenial strike actions by acadeumic staff dimmed on Monday as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) declared a one-month nationwide warning strike.
The Union has threatened to make the strike “comprehensive and total” if the government fails to meet its demands.
Declaring the strike during a media briefing in Lagos, the President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the decision to embark on the strike was taken by members of the union’s National Executive Council after a marathon meetings since Saturday at the University of Lagos titled, ‘NEC for NEC.’
“We just want to give the government a long rope hoping that it would see the need to avoid a total paralysis of academic activities in the nation’s universities. We are parents too and have our children in the system but we cannot watch and allow the total collapse of education in the country.
“Our agitation is in the interest of all and if the system is made better, we will all enjoy it. Prominent personalities in the country have waded into the matter but the government seems recalcitrant. Our National President would explain more when he briefs the press later today,” Osodeke said.
For months, ASUU had sensitised the public and mobilised lecturers and students across all universities on the reasons for the strike.
Apart from grievances over the failure of the Federal Government to fulfill some of the agreements it entered with it as far back as 2009, ASUU, on November 15, 2021, issued fresh three-weeks ultimatum over the demands.
In the ultimatum, the Union threatened to resume its industrial action after it accused the government of not keeping faithful with the implementation of the memorandum of action it signed with the union, which led to the suspension of the 2020 strike action.
After the union’s NEC meeting at the University of Abuja on November 13 and 14 last year, ASUU President lamented that despite the meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on October 14, 2021, government was yet to take steps to address the concerns of the lecturers.
Central to the issues raised by the lecturers to the government include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution, promotion arrears, renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, and the inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
The lecturers said none of these demands have been met by the government.
In the wake of the strike threat, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, promised that the union would be paid, in addition to the N22.1 billion earned allowances paid to lecturers in federal universities.
The payment persuaded ASUU to suspend its planned strike a few weeks later.
Following renewed renewed agitations by ASUU, the co-chairmen of the National Inter-religious Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, visited the President Muhammadu Buhari last month, over the lack of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding the government signed with ASUU in 2009 and others.
At the expiration of the deadline for the government to meet the demands of the lecturers, the union on Monday made,