LATEST NEWS ABOUT ASUU STRIKE
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has alleged that government forces are bent on frustrating the signing of the contentious agreement. The union maintained that these forces have unrepentantly shifted grounds to abort the negotiation process, and should be held responsible for prolonging the crisis.
ASUU President, Prof Ukachukwu Awuzie, disclosed this at a press briefing yesterday at the Nigeria Labour Congress secretariat, Yaba, Lagos.
Awuzie, who stressed that he wanted to present the picture as it is, said: “From the on-going, our view is that there are some forces in the government bent on frustrating the emergence of a centrally signed agreement with ASUU. These forces are aware that no agreement will be signed at individual council levels as the councils do not have the financial means of implementing the funding requirements. General Abacha tried it and failed. It is amazing that a civili
an government is attempting to impose it. In fact, these forces are courting a more serious industrial crisis at the branch levels, apart from the essential disabilities of councils.
“The forces that have been striving so hard to abrogate the negotiation or, if that fails, transfer them to where they will fail-to councils- include the minister of Education, the executive secretary of NUC, the executive secretary of the ETF and some intelligence officers who double as permanent secretaries,”
He described them as ‘runaway academics’ who have acquired money and want to destabilize the system, “people who enjoyed free education but now want to increase tuition fees.”
The ASUU president accused them of destroying education and turning the youths into militants. He further reinstated the position of the union in the negotiation process.
“ASUU’s position remains the same, consistent with the principle of collective bargaining. The negotiating teams should discuss all the remaining contentious issues raised by either party, agree upon them, and thereafter sign an agreement. It is open to government and ASUU to agree to review structures and procedures of negotiation at a future date,” he affirmed.
Prof. Awuzie also condemned the arbitrariness exhibited by the government in the process. “It became clear that the Federal Government had decided to unilaterally terminate the negotiation that began in 2006 and replace it with arbitrary pronouncements and awards. This is the problem prolonging the current crisis,” he stated.
The union warned that the era of autocracy was over, as such unilaterialism adopted by the government is unacceptable in a society that aspires to democracy.
He reiterated the union’s resolve to continue the struggle no matter the threats from government.
“By stopping our salary, our spirit cannot be dampened. We can survive without their salary. We went through the military and we survived it”
Also speaking, Professor Lai Olurode, former Dean of Social Sciences, University of Lagos accused the government of trying to keep the students at home till 2011. While calling on the union to be resolute in their struggle, he said: “I hope ASUU is prepared for a long fight, the struggle is just starting”
Some students carried placards with inscription: “Egwu must resign”. Govt must fund education,” Give education 26 percent.
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