Lagos – The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says there is no going back on its one-week warning strike scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the union’s National President, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone on Tuesday in Lagos that the strike would be total.
NAN reports that the union leadership, after its emergency executive committee meeting, declared the warning strike at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Ogunyemi said chronic under-funding of the sector through low budgetary allocation, which went from 11 per cent in 2015 to eight per cent in 2016, did not go down well with the union.
He pointed out the failure of government to implement the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) as some of the reasons for embarking on the warning strike.
The president said that its members were tired of what they described as “government’s empty promises’’ in setting up its negotiation team for the review of agreement as consistently requested by ASUU since 2012.
“There shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meetings of any kind in any of our branches while the strike lasts.’’
According to him, the union will put machinery in place to ensure that there is total compliance during the strike.
He explained that the essence of the warning strike was to draw attention of concern stakeholders and the general public to the challenges that the unions, universities and other stakeholders in the sector were facing.
“Nobody will say before we exhaust the warning strike some issues cannot be addressed if government want to be sincere with our cause.
“We are doing this because we want Nigerians to come into the matter and ensure that these issues are given adequate attention they deserve.
“Our lecturers are given 40 per cent of their salaries, which is just not encouraging, as this will lead to poor commitment in carrying out their jobs.
“I am sure nobody will like a 40 per cent university education or 40 per cent teaching of various courses including research development and output.
“That is why we have to take the matter before the National Assembly, which we believe, will come into the matter just like the Nigerian parents.’’
Reacting to the impending strike, the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), said that ASUU was right and that it must be supported.
Chief Adeolu Ogunbanjo, the association’s 2nd Deputy National President, told NAN that it was time the government take the country’s education seriously, especially in the face of the technology age.
“ASUU has done well by giving warning, considering the patience its members have shown in these whole issues.
“At least it is good for them to feel the pulse of Nigerians and other key stakeholders on the matter.
“However, because Nigeria is struggling with recession presently, we, on behalf of Nigerian parents are begging them not to down tool totally.
“They have made their points and we thank them for creating the awareness but we are begging them to shelve the looming strike to sometimes next year, when the recession might have been abated.
“Government too should seize the opportunity to listen to the union and see what can be done concerning all the issues it has raised.
“It will be a total disaster if government should allow ASUU to down tool indefinitely, considering the hardship that is currently taking its toll on every sector of the nation’s economy.’’
Ogunbanjo said that a full-fledged strike would not be welcomed by majority of Nigerians in the current situation.
He said the strike would only add more grief to the suffering masses.