Academic activities may be disrupted as ASUU threatens to down tools again

Academic activities may once again be disrupted in the nation’s public universities as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) dropped hints of it intention to once again embark on another round of strike should the federal government fail to implement the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA).

Speaking with journalists on Benin, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof Fred I. Esumeh reminded that the union only agree to suspend its year long strike following an agreement it signed with the federal government.

Speaking on what he themed “Another Inevitable Round of Crisis in Nigerian Universities”, Prof. Esumeh who was however silent on when lecturers planned to down tools said that “they await the decision of the national body to give the directive.”

The unionist recalled that the previous strike action was commenced on the 23rd of March 2020 as a result of government’s failure to honour the terms of an earlier agreement inked on 7th February 2019 in which the federal government had freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement.

Esumeh accused the federal government of deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university staff and the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA),

The zonal coordinator listed other grievances by the teachers to include the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of public universities, the universities, the unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, the continued non-payment of promotion arrears, the non-payment of withheld salaries and the non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.

He disclosed that on the 2nd of August, 2021, ASUU and the federal government met over the issues listed above with the Executive Secretary, National University Commission (NUC), the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and other relevant bodies, all in attendance where the government’s team assured ASUU that all the outstanding issues would have been fully addressed by on the 31st of August 2021.

Esumeh lamented: “Up till this moment, the federal government is yet to implement any of the agreements with the ASUU.”

Notwithstanding the effects of the last strike, the lockdown as a result of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic and the #ENDSARS protest, he insisted that the union will go on strike if the federal government refuses to meet its obligations as it has all it takes to pay up the N40 billion revitalisation fund.

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