A 12 days ultimatum has been issued by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government, to reach a compromise and call off the ongoing nationwide strike.
Recall on February 14th, ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike to press home its demands which included renegotiation of the ASUU/FG 2009 agreement and the sustainability of the university autonomy by deploying UTAS to replace the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS). The release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities, distortions in salary payment challenges, funding for revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowance, poor funding of state universities, and promotion arrears.
The union however extended the strike for another two months on Sunday to give the federal government more time to address all of its demands.
The student body in a statement signed by the President, Sunday Asefon, and Secretary-General, Adekitan Lukman, warned that they would block all parts of the country if their demand isn’t met.
“Should the strike continue after our ultimatum, students across the country will resume to the new University created by the Federal Government and ASUU called The University of the Street, with Main Campus on the Airport Road, Annex Campuses in all the Major Roads in Abuja and Distance Learning Centres in all the Federal Roads across the 36 State of the Federation. I therefore direct students to bring their mattresses and cooking utensils while resuming in their new campus in Abuja and all the designated campuses across the country. There won’t be any going back.”
” We, therefore, advise Federal Government and ASUU in their best interests to reach a compromise between now and Monday 28th March 2022 or risk our unprecedented fury”
NANS also passed a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Labour and Productivity and the Ministry of Education stressing that they are “incompetent to engage productively with ASUU at the highest level”
“NANS passes a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Labour and Productivity and his counterpart in the Ministry of Education to continue to lead the government negotiation team. They are either incompetent to engage productively with ASUU at the highest level or they lack the goodwill and trust to build consensus and find an amicable resolution.” A part of the statement reads.
NANS accused ASUU of being insincere for refusing to meet with the student association.
“We are appalled by the continued insincerity on the part of the leadership of ASUU in meeting our national leadership to hear directly from them as our fathers on the real area of contention. We have met with Federal Government representatives and have heard directly from them, but all efforts to meet ASUU leadership are being consciously frustrated by ASUU leadership.”
“We are also aware that revitalization of our universities is not the main issue of contention between ASUU and the Federal Government but issues concerning payment platform and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement. We have tried our best not to direct our rage towards ASUU but the Federal Government. However, ASUU is leaving us with no option but to enlist them on the list of our enemies, and we will serve ASUU on the same plate with the Federal Government.”
“Since they won’t talk to us as their closest children in this struggle, we will assume they don’t have our interest at heart and we will treat them as our enemy as well. If we are part of the beneficiary of your fight, you will not have a problem explaining to us why our gain will be bigger than our loss if the fight continues.”
It called on traditional institutions, religious leaders, and the National Assembly to wade into the ongoing strike for universities to be reopened.
“We call for the immediate intervention of traditional institutions and religious institutions to prevail on the Federal Government and ASUU to reopen our universities while they continue their negotiation. We believe that every sector of the nation shall be adversely affected by our actions if this strike is not called off.”
“We hope the time between now and on 28th will afford our influential past leaders the window of opportunity to lobby their friends in government to see the danger our collective rage will cause the nation. The National Assembly should also do everything possible within this time to end the strike. Since they rejected the bill prohibiting public officers from sending their wards to institutions abroad, they have the mandate to make our public institutions work and now that they are failing in that responsibility, the public will respond appropriately.”