The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has rejected the proposed payment of N10, 000 per session by each parent under the aegis of the National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) to support the Federal Government in funding universities.
In a recent interview, Dr. Ademola Ekundayo, spokesman of NAPTAN, said the action was taken to help the Federal Government meet ASUU’s requests.
“It can be called parents’ support levy for universities. We are at the receiving end of the industrial action. We plead with the ASUU and Federal Government to immediately resolve their differences,” he said.
But, ASUU’s National President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, responded to the proposal by rejecting it during an appearance on Arise Television, yesterday.
Instead, he advised the association to put more pressure on government
“I think what this association should be doing is to tell the government to perform its function. They should put pressure on the government to use Nigerians’ money to fund education as it is done in other countries.
“We can’t be calling ourselves the giant of Africa and we are the worst in education. You see students from Nigeria going to Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, and other small countries to study but nobody from these countries are coming to Nigeria to study.
“So they should add to the pressure coming from ASUU to ensure that the government prioritize education. That is more important than the N10,000.”
•Members’ll decide next step
He enjoined Nigerians to disregard a document on social media that ASUU chapters voted for indefinite strike except a particular university in Niger State.
He, however, confirmed that members from all chapters have been invited for a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting next week.
“It’s at that meeting that they would all vote and decide on the next line of action as regards the six months strike.”
He maintained that ASUU, at national level, do not impose decisions on all the chapters, rather, they present matters to them for critical deliberation and decision on what is good for them and other members, considering their peculiarities.
On August 1, ASUU announced an extension of its ongoing nationwide strike by four weeks to, perhaps, give Federal Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues but from all indications, the issues are yet to be resolved.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, told State House Correspondents recently that Federal Government and ASUU have reached agreements on virtually all the contentious areas except the issue of six months salary arrears which he said would not he paid because they did not work for it.
•Abiodun appeals for truce
As the feud lingers, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has appealed to both parties to find ways of resolving the crisis for the interest of students and the nation as a whole.
Abiodun, who made the appeal at the inauguration of the Governing-Councils of the state-owned tertiary institutions in Abeokuta, decried the prolonged crisis, which according to him has done more harm to the education sector of the country.
“This is no more a matter of who is right or who is wrong, it is a matter of what is good for the youths of our nation. I, therefore, appeal to both sides to find a meeting point and resolve this crisis for the good of our youths and our nation in general”, he pleaded.
•NANS rises against lecturers
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has accused lecturers of deliberately prolonging the strike.
Its President, Sunday Asefon, in a statement, said students have been sympathetic and supportive of ASUU’s demands, but have now decided to withdraw their support because of ASUU has been inconsiderate to students’ plight.
“Since the commencement of this ASUU strike six months ago, NANS has advocated and pushed in favour of ASUU. We directed our protests, advocacy, and struggles against the Federal Government, requesting they accede to the demands of the strike lecturers.
“We have supported their demand for earned allowance, revitalization funds for tertiary institutions, and the adoption of the UTAS platform for the payment of university lecturers against the Federal Government’s insistence on IPPIS. In the same vein, we rejected the Minister of Education’s suggestion that students should hold ASUU responsible and seek legal compensation for liabilities suffered as a result of the strike.
“Undoubtedly, we have supported ASUU this far because we believed those demands are just and reasonable. But we condemne in totality, the insistence of ASUU on the payment of a six month arrears salary for the entire period of the strike before they can call off the strike.
“This demand is not only insensitive, it is also selfish, inconsiderate, and uncharitable. The six months are periods of no work. As much as we encourage the government to pay their arrears irrespective, it is unfair to base resumption of academic activities on full payment of the arrears.”
•NAAT suspends strike, rejects ‘no work, no pay’ policy
However, the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has announced the suspension of its three-month strike.
National President of NAAT, Ibeji Nwokoma, who addressed journalists in Abuja, said the decision was taken at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting because it had secured commitments and resolutions on some of its demands, even as it rejected the ‘No work, No pay’ policy of the Federal Government.
He listed commitments secured from the Federal Government to include the release of enabling circular on CONTISS 14 and 15, agreements on payment of arrears of minimum wage/consequential adjustments, payment of occupational hazard allowance, implementation of responsibility allowance, among others.
He said: “Following this understanding with Government, NAAT as a democratic union directed all its branches to conduct referendum on whether to suspend or continue the strike action. NEC of NAAT met and considered the results from branches hence the decision to suspend the strike effective, Thursday 25th August, 2022.
“The result of the referendum from branches showed that 80.56 per cent voted in favour of suspension suspension of the strike while 19.44 per cent voted for continuation of the strike action.”
But he said at the expiration of the three months window period, NAAT would not hesitate to resume the suspended action without notice if all the issues agreed upon with the education minister on behalf of Government were not holistically addressed.
NAAT had embarked on the strike on 21st March, 2022 to press home its demands which include non-full implementation of FGN/NAAT 2009 agreement, refusal to release enabling circular for the implementation of CONTISS 14 and 15 for academic technologists, non-payment of the arrears of Earned Academic Allowances to our members, among others.