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ASUU Extends Strike by 12 Weeks

The strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities has been extended for another 12 weeks. This was to allow the government ample time to fully settle all remaining concerns, according to a statement issued by ASUU president Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke. It further indicated that the strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. on May 9, 2021.

ASUU claimed it decided during its National Executive Council meeting on Sunday night at the University of Abuja's Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat.

"After extensive deliberations, noting the Government's failure to live up to its responsibilities and promptly address all issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the additional eight-week roll–over strike period declared on 14th March 2022, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for twelve weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all outstanding issues," the statement read. The roll-over strike will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 9th, 2022."

"The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) conducted an emergency meeting on Sunday, 8th May 2022 at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja," according to the press release headed "Update on ASUU roll-over strike."

"The meeting was held to assess progress after the Union announced an eight-week thorough and comprehensive roll-over strike action at the end of its emergency NEC meeting on 14th March 2022 at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja." The strike followed the government's difficulties in implementing the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with the union in December 2020 on a renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), funding for the revitalization of public universities (both federal and state), proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, and promotion arrears.

The NEC also expressed its disappointment that the three-man Committee set up by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on February 1, 2022, to resolve the lingering issues between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria has yet to convene a single meeting.

"NEC was also dissatisfied that ASUU's lone meeting with the Renegotiation Committee, chaired by Professor Nimi Briggs, did not represent the desired degree of knowledge, preparedness, and clarity that underpin collective bargaining, based on the Committee's admission of "engaging stakeholders." It stated that "unless immediate efforts are made to reorient the Committee's activities toward finishing a draft Agreement that has been waiting since May 2021, its operations may wind up becoming another wild goose chase."

The ASUU NEC also criticized the Federal Government's casual attitude toward the strike action over the last twelve weeks, claiming that the government's use of starvation as a weapon to break ASUU members' collective resolve and undermine our patriotic struggle to reposition public universities in Nigeria was ill-advised and may prove counterproductive.

"NEC was startled that public universities remained closed for over three months while members of the political elite were busy acquiring expressions of interest and nomination papers for millions of Naira in preparation for the 2023 elections!" the statement said. Those in authority have turned their backs on our deteriorated colleges while they travel between Europe and America to celebrate their children and wards' graduation from world-class institutions. This demonstrates the opportunistic and parasitic political class in Nigeria's depravity, insensitivity, and irresponsibility.

Last Friday, it was reported that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, pledged to meet with ASUU this week during a meeting with the striking National Association of Academic Technologists.

However, according to Osodeke, the union has yet to get a meeting notification from any Federal Government ministry.

ASUU's demands include the release of university revitalisation money, revision of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, the release of earned allowances for university professors, and the implementation of the UTAS payment platform for the payment of university lecturers' wages and allowances.