Following the commencement of nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), The federal government has reacted.
ASUU on Monday commenced a nationwide strike following what it called failure of the federal government to meet it’s demands and fulfill it’s promises, DAILY GIST reports.
ASUU after it’s marathon meeting which ended on Monday said it has embarked on one-month warning strike.
The National President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke confirmed the Strike on Monday while addressing Journalists.
The decision was reached on Monday at the Union’s National Executive Council, NEC marathon meeting which lasted for two days in Lagos.
According to the union president, the strike will be “comprehensive and total”
However reacting to the development, the federal government said it is yet to be informed by the union over its decision. The Federal Government described the strike action embarked by ASUU as unwarranted as no notice of strike was received from the leadership of the union either verbally or in writing to that effect
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while reacting to the development said he was not informed by the ASUU that they were going on strike.
Adamu speaks through the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Mr Ben. Bem Goong in a terse statement.
He noted that the ministry is yet to receive any written or unwritten notice to that effect.
ASUU’s demands include the payment of Earned Academic Allowance, revitalization fund, the replacement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, with the University Transparency and Accountability System UTAS, among others.
While the association continues to claim that it is involved in a struggle for Nigerian tertiary education and Nigerian students by extension, some Nigerians perceive the supposed struggle, marked by incessant strike actions, to be malicious and self serving.
Meanwhile,The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has directed its states and zonal structures to mobilise students against the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the nationwide strike.
NANS President Sunday Asefon, in a statement released in Abuja, on Monday, accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, of not up to its responsibilities, hence the decision of ASUU to withdraw their services nationwide.
He told that students would invade and disrupt official activities in his office in Abuja until a solution to the nationwide strike by ASUU is resolved.
He expressed disappointment over the decision of ASUU members to declare a nationwide strike over the failure of the government to implement the agreement it reached with the Union.
Part of the statement reads: “We thought that ASUU and Federal Government officials would have allowed reasons to prevail, reached compromise, act responsibly in the interest of the education sector and indeed Nigeria, to do all that is required to responsibly avert this avoidable strike.
“We are appalled by the impunity, recklessness, and irresponsibility the managers of the negotiation from both sides have managed the fragile situation allowing it to degenerate to the level of industrial action.
“We are, therefore, compelled to believe that negotiators from both sides acted so irresponsibly because of their apathy of the interest and welfare of the major stakeholder of the sector (students) during the negotiations.
“We are equally disappointed at the government for not doing everything possible to avert this embarrassment. We are also disappointed with the ASUU for reaching the conclusion irrespective of the implications to the students, academic calendar, research they claim to love, national security, and sanity.”
He stated that the Federal Government and ASUU, by their action, has sent a direct message to Nigerian students to also take positions comfortable for their side of the table irrespective of the implications.
“However, we will respond in clear language, the language the oppressors understand. I passionately appeal to all student’s leaders, NANS structures, and organs across the nation to mobilise to our national non-elective congress on the 17th of February where far-reaching decisions shall be made on collective response to the blatant lack of patriotism, human feelings, and feelings for the collective future of education in Nigeria.
“Our decisions shall be decisive, collective, and irreversible until the strike is called off. We shall fight this impunity and recklessness without any consideration other than an immediate end to this strike,” Asefon said.
He, therefore, informed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to expect the students in their large numbers as they invade his office, and ASUU should be ready to return to the table to end the avoidable, reckless and repugnant strike.
“Let me assure the Minister that our protest in his office today (Monday) was introductory and child play in what is to come. We are resolute more than before to ensure we hold the government, especially the ministry of labour responsible for these incessant strike actions.
“We demand that further negotiations should, as a matter of urgency, have student’s representative as part of the parties, to allow balance in decisions that are capable of impairing the lives of students and derailing their progress because the contentions and issues are triangular and must be treated so, going forward,” the NANS president added.