Almost All Universities Have Joined Strike Action, Says ASUU President

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has disclosed that two-thirds of universities nationwide have now joined the industrial action.

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who stated this, added that the union was not surprised by the government’s attitude, given the experiences of the 2009 and 2013 agreements.

He said, “We have our structure for compliance and monitoring of the strike. As we speak, our members have withdrawn from classrooms in more than two-thirds of universities. Others declared on Thursday because we gave them two days to hold their congresses and to debrief them. That was why the strike didn’t start at the same time.

“We are not surprised that no dialogue has come up yet between us and the government. In all our engagements with the government, except in 2017, we have always passed through stages. The first stage is that the government will ignore us. Secondly, they will say we are telling lies. But when the lies are no longer hidden and truth is out, they will say we should come for a meaningful dialogue.”

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Employment had yet to make an official comment on the ASUU strike which has entered the seventh day.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had, in a briefing within the week, urged the union to exercise restraint in their demands from the government.

The minister has said the demands of the union, dated back to 2009 during the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, when Nigeria had not yet entered into a recession.

Adamu noted that the government would improve the funding on education with the increase in oil prices in the international market and the economy doing better.

The ASUU president spoke on the cracks among lecturers at the University of Ilorin and the Obafemi Awolowo University, saying the union was not discouraged by internal disagreements in the institutions.

Ogunyemi said, “At the University of Ilorin, the authorities have been undermining ASUU activities since the last 20 years or so. It does not come to us as a surprise. They have not allowed the branch we recognise to function. They have been meeting a group that they know is pro-management. For us, that group is illegal; they do not operate within the framework and they are not known to the ASUU National Executive Council.

“As we speak, the Chairperson and Secretary of ASUU UNILORIN that we recognise have been sacked for raising objections to the ways the university is being governed. But I can tell you that they are not going far. They cannot go far.”