The federal government of Nigeria has pleaded with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to embark on a fresh nationwide strike as its ultimatum expired on August, 31st.
In an interview with The Punch, Minister of State for Education Emeka Nwajiuba stated that the government was working hard to obtain the release of the funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and urged ASUU to be patient.
Recall that the union had called on Nigerians to hold the government accountable for their next action If the unresolved issues in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) of December 23, 2020, and matters related to the draft renegotiated agreement of May 2021 are not signed by the end of August.
However, ASUU’s National Executive Council (NEC) has indicated that it will convene to assess available options and decide its next steps.
After the government committed to satisfying the union’s requests, the union signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2020, which resulted in the suspension of the union’s nine months strikes at the time.
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the president of ASUU, during a brief meeting in Abuja stated that the union had never expressed any intention of going on strike.
According to him, there are procedures for going on strike, including proper discussions with all ASUU chapters should the government fails to keep its promises to the aggrieved lecturers
“ASUU never proposed a strike. We said if the government does not meet all our demands by the end of August, the union will meet and consider the action to take. But the country should hold the government responsible for any action we take and that was why we said we didn’t mention embarking on strike.
“The ASUU president cannot just wake up one morning and pronounce we are going on strike, not even the principal officers, we have to go through our branches. The ultimatum will end today so we will hold a meeting with our members to determine the way forward.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the director of press, federal ministry of education, Bem Goong, decried that the previous strike embarked by the union lasted for a whole year which the educational system of the country can never recover from.
He also urged the minister of labour, Dr. Chris Ngige to maintain the “no work, no pay” policy to ASUU.
“ASUU was at home for one full year and all the public universities lost a full year, that year can never be recovered,” he said.