The Nigerian federal government is alleged to have declared war on professors on strike at public universities, according to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
According to Anaedoonline.ng, Dele Ashiru, the ASUU Chairman at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), stated this position on Wednesday during a TV interview.
He claims that the government’s decision to cease paying the striking academics’ salaries and cause them to go hungry and suffer is a declaration of war.
He did, however, add that the lecturers are responding as well and continue to be adamant in their demand.
“Government declared war on our union, we are only responding. Six months or seven months down the line, our members are suffering the consequences of a strike caused by the government. If you deploy the weapon of hunger upon people that is a war,” he said during an interview with Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
Ashiru criticized the government’s decision to convene a meeting with vice chancellors and pro chancellors on September 6, 2022, in regards to the ongoing ASUU strike, calling it needless and a distraction strategy.
The Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors, according to the ASUU Chairman, don’t have problems with the government, so the meeting is unnecessary and will only be a waste of time and money.
The upcoming gathering, according to him, is “another jamboree to waste government money” and “part of the government’s diversionary tactics.”
“The Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors are not in dispute with the government. So, whatever that meeting is going to achieve is yet to be seen. What government ought to concentrate on doing is to negotiate with our union,” Ashiru said.
Ashiru responded to assertions made on Monday by the federal government that 80% of ASUU demands had been met, made by Bem Goong, director of press and public relations for the Federal Ministry of Education. Ashiru called the claim untrue.
He said: “Not one item (has been met), even the one that requires no money. For example, we desire that a government White Paper on Visitation Panel be released. Up till now, more than two years, (Minister of Education), Adamu Adamu cannot release White Paper.”
He argued further that IPPIS is a contravention of the university’s autonomy and UTAS should be deployed instead.
“Nimi Briggs’ Committee recommended an increase in salaries for our members. It is about how the government can fund public universities and also suggested to the government in line with the tripartite agreement that IPPIS be (suspended), because it violates the university autonomy, and then UTAS be deployed,” he said.
Ashiru called on the government to take action and resolve the lingering strike rather than setting up committees over and over again.
“Government has not demonstrated enough good fate to enable our union to reciprocate and there is also the principle of reciprocity.
“What we think the government should do is to take immediate steps to resolve this crisis, not setting up committees,” he said.
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