A MEMBER of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the reason for declaring Monday, February 7, 2022, lecture-free day in all universities is to sensitise the general public about the disagreement between the union and the Federal Government.
The senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, who chose to be anonymous because he is not the ASUU spokesperson, confirmed the development to The ICIR, saying the union was tired of endless meetings.
“Yes it is for sensitisation. We shall be having a lecture-free day tomorrow. After this sensitisation, the next thing is an indefinite strike; we are tired of endless meetings,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National President of ASUU Emmanuel Osodeke had disclosed to Sunday PUNCH that the directive to the chapters of ASUU came less than a week after President Muhammadu Buhari renewed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling the agreement with the union.
Buhari promised when members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council visited him to discuss the lingering issues.
The President had pleaded with the union to exercise patience and consider current economic realities.
The last national strike by ASUU was in March 2020 and it lasted till December 2020 when a memorandum of action was signed.
Shortly after the agreement was signed, ASUU accused the government of failing to fulfil its side of the bargain and threatened to mobilise for another strike.
The government quickly moved to pay N55 billion as part-payment for the Earned Academic Allowance and Revitalisation Fund. However, the union was unmoved until the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council and other dignitaries intervened.
Osodeke clarified that the union had not yet declared a strike but would sensitise the public, including the media, on the state of affairs between the union and the Federal Government.
The ICIR reported that ASUU had, on Friday, vowed to embark on an indefinite strike, saying it was tired of holding fruitless meetings with the Federal Government.
Chairman of the ASUU chapter in the University of Jos Lazarus Maigoro made the union’s position known at a press briefing.
“In the meantime, we are resolved to proceed on an indefinite and comprehensive strike until fidelity returns to our relationship with the government and our demands are met. We are tired of the back and forth,” he said.
Maigoro said several attempts to have meaningful discussions with the government towards repositioning the country’s higher educational system had failed.
Earlier in November 2021, ASUU) had threatened to embark on an industrial action if the Nigerian government failed to fulfil outstanding agreements in the next three weeks.
Osodeke had made this known at a press conference held at the University of Abuja.