Strike: No end in sight, state varsities insist

Some branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in state-owned universities have vowed to remain on strike following the failure of the Federal Government to successfully negotiate with the national body of the union.

Chairpersons of ASUU in the affected state universities, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondents, described as “ignorant” calls for the suspension of the strike in state-owned universities.

The PUNCH reports that the national body of ASUU had on Monday, February 14, 2022 declared a national strike, thereby grounding academic activities in federal universities and some state-owned universities across the country.

The national body had requested from the Federal Government the release of revitalisation funds to universities; earned allowances; deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers; release of the white paper on the visitation panels to universities among others.

Although some state universities like the Kwara State University, Lagos State University, Osun State University, Kaduna State University among others pulled out of the strike, findings by our correspondents, however, revealed that majority of state-owned universities remain on strike.

Such universities include Ekiti State University; Gombe State University; Olabisi Onabanjo University and Tai-Solarin University of Education, Ogun State; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Oyo state; Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State; Bauchi State University; Benue State University, Ibrahim Babaginda University, Niger; Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano; Imo State University; Nasarawa State University; Abia State University; Kano State University of Technology; Kebbi State University; and Sokoto State University among others.

The University’s  ASUU chairman, Dr Tarnongu Kwaghfan, insisted that the university would not resume class until the national secretariat of the union gives the directive.

He said, “Benue State University is on strike, it is not a sympathy strike because the university is a member of National Executive Council of ASUU and member of National Delegate Conference of ASUU. So we are part of the decision-making process of the union. Those saying we are on sympathy strike are saying that out of ignorance.”

Asked what would happen if the union and Federal Government reached an agreement but not implementable by the states, the ASUU chairman of BSU said whatever agreement the Federal Government and the union agreed on must be implemented by the states.

Adekunle Ajasin University

The University’s ASUU chairman, Prof Simon Ehiabhi, said, “ In ASUU, there is no federal or state ASUU. ASUU is just a single entity with chapters. What you have are branches of ASUU, and state universities that have subscribed to ASUU are branches of ASUU. Just as you have one Nigeria Union of Teachers. You don’t have federal or state NUT. Just as you have one Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board that conducts UTME, you don’t have federal or state JAMB. Just as you have one NECO, one WAEC, that’s how ASUU is.

“So if anybody is calling for state universities to pull out of the strike or not to join the strike, the person is speaking out of ignorance or out of not really understanding how the union operates. So no branch of the union can pull out of the strike, decided by all the branches at the congress.”

TASUED, Ogun State
The branch’s ASUU chairman, Dr Rufai Kazeem, said, “For now, my university, TASUED, we are on strike and will not opt out of the strike until all our demands are met,” he said.

Kano varsity

The ASUU branch of the Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Muhammad Gaya and Secretary, Murtala Muhammad, and made available to newsmen on Wednesday.

“The union noted that the body language and antics of the government are indications that the government was out to completely destroy education in the country, especially tertiary education.”

‘Shift grounds’

Meanwhile, the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government and ASUU to shift grounds in order to pave the way for amicable resolution of the prolonged strike.

The Executive Director of MMWG, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, in a statement in Ilorin, Kwara State on Tuesday stressed the need for the parties involved in the  crisis to shift grounds in view of the damage the prolonged strike has done to the university education system.

Ekiti varsity’s resumption

The management of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti on Wednesday directed all newly-admitted students for 2021/2022 academic session to resume on Monday for screening, registration and orientation programme.

The order, despite the ongoing ASUU strike, followed the advisory by stakeholders in the institution to the management to reopen the university without further delay for continuation of academic activities.

EKSU Registrar, Ife Oluwole, announced the resumption in a statement in Ado Ekiti titled, ‘Resumption of academic and administrative activities in the university: University stakeholders’ resolutions.’

Oluwole stated that the stakeholders expressed worries that the industrial action was having negative effects not only on the students, but also on the university in areas including “undue prolongation of the academic calendar and the stay of the students on campus”

The PUNCH reports that the strike by ASUU entered its 191st day today (Thursday).

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