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School Resumption: ‘We Did Not Agree On Strike Suspension Date’ – ASUU Faults FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has accused the Federal Government of lying about the union calling off the lingering strike on an agreed date in December.

Naija News understands that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige had claimed in a statement earlier that the university union had agreed to suspend the strike action by December 9, 2020.

However, in his reaction to the Minister’s claim, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU’s National President said there is nothing in the federal government’s offer of November that suggests that conclusion.

According to Ogunyemi, there will be no need for strike actions in the academic sector if the government had implemented the agreement reached with the union.

He lamented that those in the position of authority have over the years performed poorly in the Nigerian education sector, causing decay in Nigeria’s public universities. ASUU noted that as stakeholders in the Nigerian university system, its union is worried and embarrassed over the current development.

The union, however, said it is not too late to do a rethink as they believe ‘if there is the will, there will be away.’

The full statement reads: “ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on December 9, 2020, and there is nothing in the government offer of November 27, 2020, to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on November 27, 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition. The latest offer by the government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on the inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December 2020); release of details about Visitation Panels (1st December 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, December 9, 2020).

“Clause 9 on the document reads, ‘Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the ongoing strike.

“Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union. Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.

“It was a needless crisis in the first place. It happened because the government has consistently failed to faithfully implement the agreements it freely signed with the union.

“ASUU members, as stakeholders in the Nigerian university system, are equally worried and embarrassed that those in the position of authority, over the years, displayed seeming indifference to the rot and decay in Nigeria’s public universities.

“We think it is not too late to do a rethink; we believe if there is the will, there will be away.”

Meanwhile, Nigerian lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has berated President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to appear before the Nigerian lawmakers over insecurity.

Naija News reports that the Human Rights Activist expressed disappointment with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami over his statement on Wednesday, December 9, which stated that the National Assembly lack powers to summon the president.