From tomorrow, universities classrooms across the country may again be shut to academic activities, following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement it reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Members of the union yesterday served a notice to begin an indefinite strike if the government failed to meet the November 22 deadline they had earlier given for the implementation of the agreement.
Also at the weekend, Dr. Clement Chup, the Chairman of the University of Abuja chapter of ASUU decried what he described as “government’s insensitivity to issues bordering on the education sector.”
Chup said the Federal Government had, during the one-week warning strike in September, promised to mplement the agreement.
According to Chup, having made the promise, the NEC met and fixed a meeting for November 30, an additional one week grace to review government’s position.
The ASUU chief said less than a week to November 22 promised by the Federal Government, ASUU had not been called for any meeting.
His words: “Failure of government to keep to its promise will amount to an indefinite strike after NEC meeting since strike is the only language preferred by the Federal Government.”
Chup, who said the Federal Government had only implemented the salary component of the agreement noted that funding and amendment of certain laws affecting operations at the universities have been left out.
“The current struggle by ASUU for better funding of the nation’s universities is to enhance good teaching and learning environment,” he said
Chup, therefore, called for the intervention of stakeholders to forestall the pending strike in the interest of the students and the falling nation’s educational system.
He said funding and amendment of certain laws to address some contradicting issues affecting staff and operations of universities were components yet to be met in the 2009 agreement.
The union also threatened to withdraw its members from the campuses over what it called ‘’government’s illegal dissolution of the governing councils of universities.
Rising from a zonal meeting of the union yesterday at Federal University of Technology Minna (FUT), the union, in a statement by the Abuja Zonal Cordinator, Dr. Abu Mallam, deployed the continued refusal of the Federal Government to fully implement the agreement it signed in October 2009.
The zonal meeting, which had the executives of three federal and four state-owned universities in attendance appealed to its national executive council (NEC) to reconvene and take an action to save the system from total collapse.
ASUU had, last month, embarked on a one-week warning strike forcing the Federal Government to request the union to grant it till tomorrow to implement the agreement.
The union, however, lamented government’s non-chalance towards the agreement, despite appeals from the Union and other well-meaning Nigerians.
It further stated that rather than working towards the implementation of the agreement, both the Federal Government and some state governments had dissolved the Governing Councils of the institutions, stressing that the dissolution did not follow due process.
The statement called for the re-instatement of all dissolved councils to enable the councils complete their various terms, or the union may be forced to call its members out of the classrooms again.
The statement reads: “The union requests the Federal Government to ensure complete implementation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 Agreement on or before November 22 to avoid industrial disharmony.”
Source: The Nation Newspaper