Following the declaration of a nationwide indefinite strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday, the Federal Government has described the lecturers’ union as acting in bad faith.
The government also said contrary to ASUU’s claims, that negotiations were ongoing between it and the union on the issues arising from the 2009 agreement and the MoU of 2013.
The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, said:
“If it is on ASUU, just know that the FG/ASUU renegotiation 2009 is ongoing with the government team under the leadership of Dr. B. O Babalakin (SAN).”
Ihuoma further stressed that the minister of education Malam Adamu Adamu, had in January inaugurated a 16-member team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement.
The committee, headed by Babalakin, was given the mandate to dialogue with the ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Associated & Allied Institutions (NASU) to ensure sustainable peace and industrial harmony in tertiary institutions.
ASUU through its president, Dr Biodun Ogunyemi argued that the Wale Babalakin-led committee lacked the powers to resolve the issue as there were unimplemented items in the 2009 agreement.
He said government had ignored the system, stressing that the political class had also shifted attention to sending their wards to private universities and universities abroad, leaving public universities to collapse
”Among the issues in current disputes involved in the 2009 agreement and 2013 MOU are funding for the revitalisation of public universities and earned academic allowances.
”Others include registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), University staff school, fractionalisation and non payment of salaries,’’ Ogunyemi said.
Meanwhile, the National Parents Teachers Association (NAPTAN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) faulted the strike.
According to The Nation, both organisations said they were not consulted before ASUU declared the strike.