September 26, 2022

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ASUU adamant, says govt must meet all demands

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday said it has no plan to suspend its ongoing strike but to end it permanently.

It however said such can only happen when all demands have been met.

The union’s President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, at a press conference in Abuja.

“We want to end strike. We are not suspending the strike. You can only end strike when all the demands have been met,” he said.

While appreciating efforts of some stakeholders on the strike, Osodeke, however, said “it is not over until it is over!”

 On media reports that the Federal Government plans to increase salaries of ASUU members by 100 per cent, Osodeke said, “We are not aware of any new agreement. If the government wants to negotiate with us, they know the right channel.”

Earlier in an interview with The PUNCH, Osodeke said the union had yet to receive any call or invitation from the government since it had the last meeting with Prof. Nimi Briggs renegotiation committee on June 16, 2022.

SSANU protests

Also, the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, condemned a report which stated that a higher percentage of salary was recommended for ASUU while SSANU was excluded.

“We have not been invited we are looking forward to the invitation, We only met with Briggs twice and they didn’t give us the opportunity to discuss financials, we only discussed issues about conditions of service. The committee should give all the unions a level playing field. If they discussed financials with ASUU, they should discuss with other unions too,” he said.

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Buhari’s order

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Tuesday, directed the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to resolve the five-month strike ASUU and three other university labour unions within two weeks.

Buhari issued the ultimatum after he was briefed by the government’s Ministries, Agencies and Departments who are still negotiating a way out between the Federal Government and the labour unions.

After Tuesday’s briefing from the relevant MDAs, the President directed the education minister to resolve every stalemate with ASUU within two weeks and report back to him.

Also, the President mandated the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chirs Ngige, be present at every meeting, Presidency sources revealed.

According to the sources, Buhari also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to join the Federal Government’s team interfacing with the unions.

CONUA not involved

A breakaway faction of ASUU, the Congress of Nigerian University Academics, has dissociated itself from the ongoing strike.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by CONUA National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu, and its National Publicity Secretary, Ernest Nwoke, and made available to The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday.

The union reiterated that its members are not a part of the decision to embark on the ongoing strike by ASUU.

The union also announced its independence as a union of academics in Nigerian universities.

“The Congress of University Academics would like to seize this opportunity to announce its independence as a union of academic staff in Nigeria’s public universities.

“Being a separate and independent union, it has never been part of the decision to embark on the industrial action which has paralysed academic activities in our universities for five months now,” the statement read.

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JPSNC mobilises

The Joint Public Service Negotiations Council, Trade Union side, has directed workers across the country to prepare for mass protest against what it called the Federal Government’s insensitivity to the demands of ASUU.

The organised labour has scheduled the two-day mass protest across the 36 states and Abuja for Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

JPSNC National Chairman, Benjamin Anthony and National Secretary Bomoi Ibraheem, in a statement titled, ‘NLC – ASUU mass protest, JPSNC mobilises public service workers nationwide’, made available in Ado Ekiti, lamented that government’s attitude to ASUU’s demands “has caused serious defect in the educational pursuit of innocent Nigerian students in public universities.”