…As ASUP is to begin nationwide strike December 12 – Official***
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ended without any conclusion on Tuesday.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, while speaking with newsmen at the end of the closed door meeting in Abuja noted that negotiations were still ongoing.
He said both parties were yet to reach a concrete decision.
“For now, we have started to discuss. We are yet to reach any concrete decision. Once we have more information, we will make ourselves available to the press.
“The union will reconvene very soon to continue negotiations,” he said.
The meeting held at the instance of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu was to find lasting solution to the ongoing strike by the university lecturers.
ASUU had on November 4, embarked on an indefinite strike over poor funding of Nigerian universities and non-implementation of previous agreements by government.
Meanwhile, the President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr Danielson Akpan has urged both parties to have a common ground so that the universities can reopen.
He said they must put the interest of the country and Nigerian students above any other thing.
In the meantime, the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has declared that it would begin an indefinite strike from December 12.
The polytechnic lecturers will join their university colleagues who have been on strike for a month.
In a phone interview with PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday morning, the National President of ASUP, Usman Dutse, said the federal government had failed to meet the demands of the polytechnic lecturers.
Prior to this impending strike, the union had on October 2 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government before it extended it to November. But even then, it did not commence the strike.
But Mr Dutse said the proposed strike would be “total and indefinite”.
“This further emphasises the resolution of the 93rd National Executive Council meeting reached at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos last week,” he said.
“Government has failed to implement and fulfil agreements it reached with the union as contained in the memorandum of understanding signed,” he said.
ASUP went on strike in November 2017; but when the federal government reached an agreement to implement the recommendations of the 2014 NEEDS assessment, the strike was suspended 15 days after.
The agreement particularly highlighted the need for increased funding of polytechnics.
Mr Dutse also said the roles of state government and the National Assembly is not encouraging when it comes to funding the education sector.
“The issue of the funding of the institutions has always been a major concern. After the government conducted the NEEDS assessment in 2014, it promised to implement it. Years after, there is no designed roadmap to implement that,” he said.
He said the bill meant to review the act on the establishment of polytechnics in the country was yet to be passed by the National Assembly. He said the union was hoping that the strike would also help fast-track its passage.
“The institutions are not funded. The states are even worse because state governments just establish schools without actually funding those schools. So, no infrastructure is in place,” he added.
The ASUP president also alleged that some state governments were owing salaries for up to 14 months just as institutions victimise union leaders who voice out against what he termed injustice.
“We have states that are owing about 14 month salaries. Some owe eight months. Benue, Ogun, Osun, Edo, Kogi are owing up to as long as 14 months,” he said.
The Citizen with additional report from Premium