Technocrat Media, Abuja
Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the ongoing industrial action has been extended by twelve weeks.
In a statement, he issued after an emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the association at the University of Abuja on Sunday, said the decision was to give the federal government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.
“After extensive deliberations, noting the 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 ASUU president’s statement read.
“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, 9th May 2022.”
The union also expressed dissatisfaction with the three-man panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in February to resolve the lingering industrial action.
“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’, the statement added.
“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.”
Several groups and labour unions such as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), students’ groups, and civil society organisations have commended ASUU “who have taken steps towards resolving the current labour dispute with the Nigerian government”.
ASUU also condemned the planned trip by spouses of vice-chancellors, describing it as “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,” ASUU maintained.
The extension came days after the Federal Government said it would resume talks with the striking lecturers this week.
Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, had said this on Friday after meeting with the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
“As a conciliator, I manage you people in measured steps. That is why I want to take all of you holistically and I ask for your cooperation. When I finish with you today, I will continue with ASUU next week,” a statement by the acting spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Patience Onuobia, quoted Ngige as saying.
“I have done NASU and SSANU yesterday and they were happy. I want you people to be happy as we leave here.”