Lecturers Shut Down Universities Nationwide
By Dipo Olowookere
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday embarked on an indefinite industrial action to press home their demands.
The outstanding issues with the Federal Government, according to ASUU, include payment of fractions/non-payment of salaries; non-payment of earned academic allowances, non-release of operational license of NUPEMCO; non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 pension reform act with respect to retired professors and their salaries, removal of universities staff schools from funding by government and funds for the revitalisation of public universities.
The lecturers said they were not happy with the way Federal Government has neglected them by not honouring an agreement reached with them in 2009.
This was echoed by the National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while addressing newsmen at the Labour House, Abuja.
“Our members across the country were getting increasingly frustrated, distracted and disenchanted. It became evident that their patience had been tasked beyond reasonable limits and government’s insensitivity imposed severe burden on the leadership of the union.
“Consequently, based on a nationwide consultation with our members, an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU rose on Saturday, August 12, 2017 with a resolution to embark on an indefinite strike action starting from Sunday, August 13, 2017,” he said.
He stressed that, “The nationwide action is total and comprehensive. During the strike, there shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branch.”
ASUU said in 2013, it embarked on a six month strike and the action was suspended when government signed an MoU with the union.
However, it lamented that, “Of all the items contained in the MoU, only the N200 billion out of a total of N1.3 trillion of the Public Universities Revitalisation (Needs Assessment) fund was released.”
Mr Ogunyemi further recalled that in November 2016, the union also embarked on a one week warning strike to press for the implementation of the 2013 MoU.
But he said government did not implement the understanding reach between both parties based on the intervention by the leadership of Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The union has also met with the 2009 Agreement Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) and had written several letters press releases and communiqués on the outstanding issues to no avail.
“The National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU then met at the University of Abuja on August 12, 2017 to consider the result of a referendum from all branches in a bid to ascertain ways of convincing government to implement outstanding aspects of the 2009 and the MoU of 2013,” the ASUU leader said.