ASUU Threatens Fresh Strike, Gives FG 3-week Ultimatum

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday threatened to embark on another round of industrial action follow­ing “government’s unfaithful­ness” in implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoU) it signed with the union that led to the suspension of the last strike.

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ASUU National President, Pro­fessor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this after the union’s National Ex­ecutive Council (NEC) meeting at the University of Abuja on November 13 and 14, 2021.

Osodeke urged Nigerians to hold the Federal Government responsible should they fail to address the issues within three weeks.

The union lamented that de­spite its meeting with the Minis­ter of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on October 14, 2021, onthemajoroutstandingis­sues including funding for revit­alisation of public universities, earned academic allowances, University Transparency Ac­countability Solution (UTAS), promotion arrears, renegotia­tion of 2009 ASUU-FGN agree­ment, and the inconsistencies in IPPIS payment, the issues are still lingering.

Osodeke said, “ASUU is fully committed to upholding aca­demic integrity in our universi­ties and working to make them more globally competitive. We are equally committed to pro­moting industrial harmony in the Nigerian university system for as long as all stakeholders are willing and committed to play their parts.

“We call on all vice-chancel­lors, as the main drivers of the system, to join us in this mission to safeguard the waning image of our universities.

“They have no business trading honourary degrees and academic positions for personal and immediate gains; thereby smearing the collective integri­ty of committed scholars and other patriots who are working day and night to uplift the system that produced them.

“Our union shall not shy away from taking the fight to administrators of Nigerian universities as well as internal and external agents who are and external agents who are bent on compromising the standard ASUUhasconsistentlylaboured to protect and improve.

“Finally, we call on all pa­triotic Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria to prevail on the federal and state governments to act fast to prevent another round of in­dustrial crisis in Nigeria’s public universities.

“It is painful that our union may soon have no other way of securing the implementation of FGN-ASUU collectively bar­gained agreements and redress­ing the criminal neglect of wel­fare issues of our members by state governors. Governments of Nigeriashould beheld respon­sible should ASUU be forced to activate the strike it patriotically suspended.”

Meanwhile, the union said it is not convinced with the ap­pointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, as a Pro­fessor at the Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri.

Recall that ASUU chapter of FUTO recently said standard process was followed in the ap­pointment of Pantami as Pro­fessor of Cybersecurity in the university following an investi­gation by the panel.

But the national union said there is something wrong with the appointment of Pantami.

“The controversy this ap­pointment has generated is un­precedentedin the recent history of Nigerian universities. Indeed, ithasgeneratedpassionatecom­ments and responses from indi­viduals and groups within and outside the nation,” Osodeke said.

“The controversy centres on the perceived roles played by the university administration in the alleged fraudulent appointment, and the subsequent seeming en­dorsement by the ASUU branch at FUTO. Consequently, some media commentators – print, electronic and social have im­pugned that the national body of ASUUwasinagreementwith the position of ASUU FUTO branch on the said appointment.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth. ASUU, as a union has never supported, promoted or endorsed any illegal appoint­ment or promotion of academ­ics in any Nigerian university, including those of its members. As a union, we have always in­sisted on strict adherence to due process and the rule of law in all aspects of universityadministra­tion and governance.

“In view of the foregoing, the union rejected the ASUU-FUTO committee’s report and set up an independent committee to inves­tigate all issues surrounding the controversial appointment of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) as a Professor of Cybersecurity in the university.”

He added that “thereafter, the position of ASUU-NEC shall be made known to the public. In ad­dition, another committee shall visit the ASUU-FUTO branch with a view to determining the role of members in the contro­versial appointment and report back to NEC for further action.”

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