Nigerian University lecturers, ASUU, begin nationwide indefinite strike

University of Nigeria Nsukka Library

The lecturers accuse the government of violating an agreement.

Nigerian University lecturers, under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Monday began a nationwide indefinite strike.

The ASUU National President, Isa Fagge, told journalists of the development at a news conference via telephone at the University of Lagos.

He said that the decision to have the strike was reached at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of ASUU held at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, on Monday.

Mr. Fagge told journalists that the strike, which takes immediate effect, will be comprehensive, total and indefinite’’. He said that the action was as a result of the inability of the Federal Government to implement some of the issues contained in a 2009 agreement it had with ASUU.

The unionist said that the government had also reneged on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it entered into with the union in December 2011.

“Before now, there has been this issue of the implementation of the key issues contained in the 2009 agreement we entered into with the Federal Government.

“We have had several meetings and deliberations to let government understand why these issues must be resolved but it is like the more we meet and deliberate, the messier the issue gets.

“One of the issues that needed to be addressed was basically that of the Academic earned allowance. This earned allowance, and other issues, had dragged on until government then agreed to write an MOU with the union.

“But as we speak, there has been nothing to show that government was committed to an MOU it also willingly wrote to better the university sector.

“It is in this regard that we are embarking on an indefinite strike,” he said.

Mr. Fagge said that having waited patiently for the government to swing into action to no avail, the NEC of the union decided to meet, deliberate and come up with the action.

Karo Oghenekaro, the Chairman of the University of Lagos chapter of the union, told journalists that government’s penchant for reneging on agreements was not acceptable.

He said that government entered into the MOU with ASUU after the union suspended its strike two and a half years ago.

Mr. Oghenekaro explained that the government had made essential laws on some of the burning issues such as the 70 years retirement age of lecturers as well as the pension commission.

According to him, government, however, is not forthcoming with other pressing demands such as the earned allowance.

He noted that the academic earned allowance was expected to take care of excess work load carried out by the lecturers such as examination officers, deans and supervision of post graduate, masters and other programmes.

“I want to say that not all lecturers are entitled to this allowance, but as we speak, not a single lecturer under the aforementioned categories has received any such allowance.

“What we are demanding as the earned allowance is not more than N12, 500 per person, yet government is saying it cannot afford such.

“Government was actually thinking of the cost implication of everything but after much deliberation, government agreed to sign the MoU and said it had set aside N100 billion to take care of all the burning issues.

“However, government came back to us and pleaded for a reduction and we decided to step the cost down to 80 per cent. That not enough, it also appealed for another reduction to 50 per cent.

“This 50 per cent, government said, will be a one off payment; that it was from that 50 per cent that we shall take care of everything, including the earned allowance.

“This did not go down well with us and so we decided to meet and take the decision we have just taken,” he said.

According to him, the Nigerian tertiary education sector is where it is because of inadequate funding. He said that one of the reasons why there were no foreign scholars in the system was because of the poor wages.

“When we agitate about earned allowance, we are also using it to as a means of attracting foreign scholars so it is not all about our personal interest.

“We are also using it to address the issue of brain drain in the system. As it were, our best brains are all drifting into industries and other sectors that will pay them better, rather than ploughing back into the academic sector.

“To us, it is all about looking at a bigger picture and putting things in the right place,’’ he said.

The union leader said that the decision to embark on the strike was painful but that there was no going back until government took a positive step to address their demands.

The ASUU strike occurs two months after polytechnic lecturers, ASUP, embarked on their own national strike, which is still ongoing.

(NAN)


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  • Efe1

    And you tell me this president was once a lecturer? If education is not transformed by the GEJ transformation agenda, of what point is the transformation?

  • ismo

    same old story, asuu vs fg, the saga continues…..i guess dis is season 3 épisode 1….lol

  • Linda Aigbodion

    No one is embarkin on strike to increase d standard of education,its always about earned allowance.hmmmmmmmmmm

  • dandyName

    It should be the responsibility of the FG to fund allowances and not side track fund belonging to parties involve I.e lecturers dean and examination officers allowance fund into there pocket if they regard education as a priority and also to encourage foriegn scholar into nigerian academic system as stated. The big question is, can does bad egg in the FG system be eradicated even now that we are aware of majority bad ones in the govt I won’t blame GEJ as such I will blame is GF….. Omoefe kiddo

  • Ndidi

    I stand with ASUU. The government should pay academic staff what was agreed. ASUU should not back down at all. Our governments always have enough money, and are quickly willing to pay non-African foreign migrant workers (called “expatriates” by those with inferiority complex) their overpriced salaries but never seem ready to pay Black Nigerians their due salaries. We Africans are just too timid and allow our rulers to treat us like dirt while those same rulers treat oyinbos like they are gods – paying them extraordinarily well, giving them the best houses, giving them Police or soldiers to protect them. But absolutely nothing for Nigerians. Let the entire country grind to a halt if our rulers refuse to pay workers their due.

    • emmanuel

      R u ok????? Do u think of d psychological effect of students?????hw will dis strike affect d govt?u think de care???

    • prosper

      Only the Students will suffer…because there a lot ( way more than a lot sef ) private universities around and it is still this same government officials that can afford the cost of these institutions, even your lecturers have their children there. So, pray well for the ASUU strike to be over…

  • Nwokoro-philips Emeka

    are they really fighting for the welfare of the students or themselves?

    • ASUU staff are thieves. That is all i have to say about them. They should be sacked just as FASHOLA sacked those 750 doctors in lagos who later went and begged him and were recalled under conditions

  • Taiwo

    It is only God dat will help us in dis country,We students re d one suffering it,asuu nd Fg.u all ve kids.put us in ur shoes.