Two days to the expiration of the warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the National President of the union, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke says “nothing tangible has been done”.
Saturday PUNCH reports that the union had on Monday, February 14, 2022, declared a total and comprehensive four-week warning strike.
The strike, according to the union, was due to the failure of the government to implement the agreement the Federal Government signed with the union in 2009.
ASUU had also accused the Federal Government of working against the deployment of the UTAS, a payment platform designed by ASUU in lieu of the IPPIS payment system.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had summoned meetings with the union and other ministries and agencies in a bid to change the mind of the striking lecturers.
The minister in an interview with The PUNCH had also said that ASUU’s demands were currently being implemented.
But Osodeke said nothing tangible had been done.
In an interview with Channels Television, which was monitored by Saturday PUNCH, Osodeke said, “Nothing tangible has been done so far. We have met with the Minister of Labour twice.
“We gave a room for them (NIREC) to intervene and they did. What we see is a lack of will and lack of interest in the public university system.
“The strike didn’t need to last more than one week if the government had taken it seriously. When they had problem in Ukraine where the sons of the rich were studying, we saw how fast they released money, but in the country where the children of the poor are studying, nothing has been done.”
Meanwhile, the General Assembly of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has called on the Federal Government to be proactive and embrace dialogue in a bid to resolve the ongoing disagreement between ASUU and the Federal Government.
The VCs made this call in a communiqué issued at the end of their 80th meeting held in Abuja on Friday.
The committee added that Nigerian universities would not be able to withstand the consequences of a prolonged strike.
The PUNCH reported that ASUU on February 14, 2022 embarked on a four-week warning strike following the failure of the Federal Government to implement the agreements it signed with the union.
The union had also said it would go on a total and comprehensive indefinite strike should the government fail to honour its demands before the end of the one-month warning strike.
The communiqué partly read, “Members expressed regret that the nation’s public universities are witnessing another strike action resulting from a trade dispute with the unions.
“It expressed the need for the Federal Government to be proactive and dialogue with the leadership of the union to ensure an amicable resolution of the crisis.
“At the heart of the dispute is the public universities’ funding, which members noted was grossly inadequate.”
“The meeting noted that public universities might not absorb the consequences of another prolonged strike by the union if the outstanding issues were not quickly resolved.”
On the issue of fake admissions, the committee decried the high rate and resolved to schedule a meeting with the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board.
The vice chancellors added that members decried the issue of illegal admissions into public universities and resolved that an urgent meeting with the JAMB Registrar to draw his attention to the matter with a view to ending the act.
The communiqué further read, “The meeting noted that the way Vice-Chancellors are summoned by various committees of the National Assembly was improper. The meeting suggested that a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly was necessary to find a better process of engagement.
“The committee saluted the efforts of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors in raising this matter with the Visitor. It advised that there should be constant follow up to ensure that Mr. President grants the request to lift the embargo.”