The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday said the industrial action by its members will for another three months.
According to a statement by its President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the ASUU said the extension of the strike was to give the government enough time to satisfactorily resolve all outstanding issues.
Saying the extension takes effect from 12:01am May 9, 2022, Osodeke disclosed that the union took the decision after its National Executive Council meeting which started on Sunday night at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja.
The statement partly read: “After extensive deliberations, noting Government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities and speedily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the additional eight-week roll–over strike period declared on 14th March 2022, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for twelve weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, 9th May 2022.”
The press release titled, ‘Update on ASUU roll-over strike,’ read, “The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held an emergency meeting on Sunday, 8th May 2022 at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja.
“The meeting was called to review developments since the Union declared an eight-week total and comprehensive roll-over strike action at the end of its emergency NEC meeting at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja on 14th March, 2022. The strike action came on the heels of the Government’s failure to satisfactorily implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with the Union in December 2020 on renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), funding for revitalization of public universities (both Federal and States), proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries (owed for over 20 months in some cases), and Non-emittance of third-party deductions.
“The NEC of ASUU is disappointed that the three-man Committee set up by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 1st February 2022 to resolve the lingering issues between ASUU and FGN had not called a single meeting to date.
“NEC was equally disappointed that ASUU’s only meeting with the Professor Nimi Briggs-led Renegotiation Committee did not reflect the expected level of understanding, preparation and clarity that undergird collective bargaining going by the Committee’s confession of “going about consulting stakeholders”. Unless urgent steps are taken to redirect the Committee on concluding a draft Agreement that has been pending since May 2021, its activities may end up as another wild goose chase.
“The ASUU NEC also condemn the Federal Government’s cavalier attitude towards the strike action in the last twelve weeks, The FG’s resort to the use of starvation as a weapon for breaking the collective resolve of ASUU members and undermine our patriotic struggle to reposition public universities in Nigeria was ill-advised and may prove counterproductive.
“NEC was shocked that public universities have remained closed for about three months while members of the political class were busy purchasing expression of interest and nomination forms worth several millions of Naira in preparations for 2023 elections! Those in power turned their back on our degraded universities as they shuttle between Europe and America to celebrate the graduation of their children and wards from world class universities. This speaks volumes on the level of depravity, insensitivity, and irresponsibility of Nigeria’s opportunistic and parasitic political class.
“The result of the criminal neglect of education and gross mismanagement of the nation’s patrimony is evident in the collapse of the security architecture of our nation. Insecurity is getting worse by the day and spreading like the harmattan inferno in hitherto peaceful and secured parts of Nigeria, including university campuses. ASUU warns, once more, that unless something drastic is done to reverse these ugly trends, the country may be headed for a state of anarchy.
“NEC condemned the provocative statements of some government functionaries and salutes the Nigerian Labour Congress, patriotic students’ groups and civil society organisations who have taken steps towards resolving the current labour dispute with the Nigeria government.
“NEC found the planned overseas trip organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities’ Spouses (CVCNUS) despicable and condemnable. The advertised five-day conference in Istanbul is a waste of scarce resources of our universities; it is insensitive and provocative, particularly at a time like this when lecturers are denied their salaries for daring to struggle to improve the lot of our public universities.”
Meanwhile, students have threatened to block roads to all airports across the country, the National Assembly from Tuesday over rthe extension of the ASUU strike.
The students under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) also said they would occupy some federal roads in the country.
The NANS said the national action tagged “Operation Test Run”, shall be held in the 36 states of the federation.
Describing the extension of the strike as “a direct declaration of war by the Federal Government against university students in Nigeria,” the NANS President, Sunday Asefon, in a statement titled “ASUU Strike Extension: The Silence of the Government and the Ruling Class; the Nation Must Feel the Heat,” condemned it in all terms.
The statement read: “The failure of the government to reach an agreement with ASUU underscores their lack of concern and empathy for the plight of the common men and women of our nation who can’t afford private tertiary institutions.
“Having exhausted all windows of constructive engagement with the government, I, on behalf of the national leadership of NANS, therefore, declare National Action from tomorrow, May 10.
The NANS leadership will hold a meeting on May 14 to discuss the blockage of airports across the country. Federal roads across the 36 states shall be occupied for a minimum of three hours. The operation shall be a precursor to a total shutdown that will be decided during our senate meeting/pre-convention on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Our decision from the pre-convention shall be binding. The action shall be total as the extension of the ASUU strike is a direct declaration of war by the Federal Government against university students in Nigeria.
“Our proposal to congress on the 14th shall be total blockage of the airport roads across the country and total disruption of political party primaries, blockage of the national assembly until they are committed to passing legislation banning public office holders from sending their children to universities abroad.
“We, therefore, advise divisive elements or paid agents of the government to stay clear of our actions as the consequences shall be severe.
“By this release, all JCC chairmen, zonal leaderships and stakeholders are directed to act appropriately and ensure total compliance to the directive of ‘operation test run’, shut down federal roads in your state; the nation must feel the heat.
“We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), and civil society organisations to join us to salvage the remaining crackers of our public tertiary education in Nigeria. Let me assure you, I will lead from the front.”