There appears to be no solution in sight to the lingering industrial dispute between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) despite the threats sack issued by the federal government and counter-threats by the striking lecturers.
As recent as last week, the hierarchy of the ASUU vowed to continue with its strike action until the federal government meets its demands.
BusinessDay gathered that Nasri Isa Fagge, National President of ASUU, on several occasions has maintained that the union has presented four conditions for the federal government to fulfil before ASUU can call off the strike, adding that the strike continues until the president responds to their demands.
He however denied the rumour making the rounds that the members of the union have been factionalised with some opting for outright suspension of the strike while others insist that the strike should continued until the federal government yields.
He said out of the 52 branches about 48 said the strike should be called off while eight insisted that the union’s conditions must be met before calling off the industrial action.
“Our members have not taken decision to call off the strike. I cannot unilaterally suspend the strike. National Executive Council must meet and take a decision before we can do so; it is not my personal decision. We have written a letter to the federal government and it has about four conditions; we are yet to get any reply from the president. We can only suspend the strike when the federal government meets our demands,” he said.
According to Sunday Ighalo, chairman, zonal coordinator, Benin zone of ASUU, “the Union will only call off the strike when the federal government meets our demands or responds to the letter written to the president. It is a simple letter. We have not taken a decision to call off the strike.
“The action is subject to certain conditions which we told the president. We are still expecting the reply and if the reply was not favourable to us we will not call off the strike but if they respond today, I tell you today we will call off the strike,” he said.
The Benin zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities is made up of University of Benin (UNIBEN); Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma; Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka; Niger Delta University (NDU); Bayelsa and Federal University of Petroleum, Warri.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government through Labaran Maku, minister of information, has said the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has no basis for sustaining its ongoing industrial action which has closed down universities for about five months now, insisting that the action was becoming damaging to education sector.
Although, Maku said it initially did not see the Union as being used by anybody against the current administration as it was convinced the striking lecturers decided to down tool out of their conviction.
The Information Minister expressed dismay that the crisis may degenerate back to states as many of them would not be able to pay allowances to the lecturers at the end of the current crisis.
He said, “By the time we finish with the strike, the crisis will degenerate back to states as many states won’t be able to pay allowances.”
Maku noted that previous governments did not invest in education sector in the manner the current administration is doing. He also stated that more time is needed to address the rot in the sector and that strike actions should not be used to drag it backwards.
Urging the lecturers to have sympathy on students and call off the strike, the minister disclosed that government has already provided N200 billion for the upgrade of infrastructures in the ivory towers across the country and another N45 billion for allowances of the striking lecturers.
He said, “In every country in the world, there are challenges in education but not on the same level. You cannot address the problem of 30 years in one moment.”
source: BusinessdayASUU Strike Lingers as FG and Lecturers Trade Blames by ngcareers