The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has vowed to continue with its over three-months-old strike action, even as the federal government has directed that salaries for lecturers be stopped.
At the end of the union’s zonal conference in Abuja on Thursday, ASUU’s zonal chairman, Clement Chup, said the union has resorted to other welfare strategies to cope with the effects of the “no work, no pay” policy.
He confirmed that the federal government has through the National Universities Commission, NUC, directed universities to stop the payment striking lecturers’ salaries effective September this year.
According Chup, the association would adop strategies to deal with the government decision.
“Part of (our) welfare strategy involve distributing food items, giving out soft loans and cash advances to members,” he said
Earlier on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, the chairperson of the union, University of Port Harcourt branch, Antonia Okerengwo, told newsmen that ASUU will continue to stand by the the agreement the federal government voluntarily entered into with it in 2009.
He debunked claims by the President Goodluck Jonathan that the union was being instigated by some politicians, insisting that it was not fighting for itself but for the revitalisation of tertiary institutions in the country.
Okerengwo expressed regret that rather than fulfill its promises to ASUU by reviving the Nigerian education sector, the government had resorted to “blackmail”.
“The resort to blackmail is not the solution to the present impasse as we cannot run away from our problems. We cannot continue to pretend or wish that these problems do not exist. Practical problems need practical solutions. The media must also begin to ask questions about the cost of governance in this country so that we can see the alternative forgone in terms of education, healthcare and infrastructure,” she added.
Okerengwo further disclosed that the technical committee set up by NEC to review NEEDS assessment report also recommended that the sum of N800 billion would be required in the short term of two years (N400billionn per year) for revitalisation.
“This has remained a mere promise, as only N100bn for 2012, which is 20 per cent of what is due as at today, has been released. The fact is that the N100bn is the amount due and outstanding since 2012.
The question therefore is what about the N400bn for 2013?” she queried.