THE Academic Staff Union of Universities says the federal government is displaying “lackadaisical attitude” in implementing the agreement it signed with the union earlier in the year and as such should be held responsible for any disruption in the academic calendar.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the ASUU National Chairman, Biodun Ogunyemi, in reaction to the recent claims by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, that another tranche of N25 billion has been approved for the ASUU members.
Ogunyemi said the funds, which was meant to be a part-payment of the earned academic allowances, ought to have been released since February according to the Memorandum of Action that FG signed with ASUU.
“Since information on the amounts mentioned in the media went round, the ASUU has been inundated with enquiries on the union’s perspective to the story,” Ogunyemi said.
“Funding for the revitalisation of public universities has for years been of very high priority to ASUU.
“Reaching an agreement with the Federal Government has often been a frustrating journey for our union. It is often marked with protests, strikes and requires a conscious and focused engagement.
“The 2001 agreement, which gave birth to the 2009 agreement, was not an exemption. The exception here is the personality leading the government negotiation team.
“The current leadership of the government team clearly lacks the academic disposition and humility needed to undertake such task.
“Our members enjoy their work and hate to see any disruption in the smooth running of our universities. However, the level of frustration occasioned by the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards meeting the terms of the 2019 Memorandum of Action that was freely signed with our union is increasingly becoming unbearable.
“We, therefore, call on all Nigerian patriots, parents and students including the Nigeria Labour Congress to prevail on the government to keep to the terms of our agreement. Otherwise, our union should not be held responsible for any disruption in the system.”
The last strike action embarked upon by ASUU was called off on February 8, just days to the 2019 general election. It lasted for a little over three months.
ASUU strikes have become a regular occurrence in Nigeria over the years, contributing to the further depreciation of the country’s education sector. During the campaigns for the 2015 general election, Muhammadu Buhari, then candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) had promised to, among other things, bring an end to the incessant strikes.
However, education has fared rather poorly during Buhari’s first term in office, and the situation does not appear any brighter as the President is about to be sworn into office for a second four-year tenure.