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HomeNewsAsuu Press Conference on Resumption of Academic Activities

Asuu Press Conference on Resumption of Academic Activities

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.ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU)
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
THE TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES
(ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS
HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA

Protocol

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Friends and compatriots of the Press,
On Sunday, 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities
(ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th
September, 2017.

The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of
a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria
(FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was
to end in October 2017. While announcing the suspension of the nationwide
action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not
hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed
Memorandum of Action”. Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the
breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.

Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU
members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual
engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university
campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of
“non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of
some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.
Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to
prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike
situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile
disposition to university education.
Why Strike Action?
The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like
embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the
universities?

However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to
fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public
primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public
university system in Nigeria. ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the
continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s
has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that
successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements
only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health,
transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living. This
proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the
insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and
resisted by all people of goodwill.
ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in
the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical
attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union. At our
media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd December, 2018, we
highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:
– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the
FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017

– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader
and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of
the nation and the people at heart.

– Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances
(EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of
same into the 2018 budget.

– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met
the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous
Audit (PICA)

– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage
Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of
university education and undue interference in the affairs of the
universities

– Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO

– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin
A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution
To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with
representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of
2019. Highlights of the MoA include the following:

1. In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would
be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume
full implementation of the MoU of 2013.

2. Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic
allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36
months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual
budgets beginning from 2019 budget.

3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary
shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not
later than 15th February 2019.

4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned
Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to
look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to
consistently deliver on its mandate.
5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in
the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose
appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.
6.

Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating
the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of
operational license to NUPEMCO.
7. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively
by 11th March, 2019.
8. Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of
parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009
which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by
Friday 29th March, 2019.
Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive
consultations through its various organs. The final level of consultation
was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) which took place 6th
-7th February, 2019. NEC resolved that:
Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal
Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and
2017 MoA, NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should
be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th
February, 2019. However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the
agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume
its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.

Conclusion
ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice
chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our
Union to Nigeria’s public universities. Consequently, we condemn, in the
strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and,
in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the
revitalization of public universities in Nigeria. ASUU will not shy away
from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of
impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to
university culture and the progressive development of our universities. Our
union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant
authorities for further action.

Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by
patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike
period. We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria
Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President,
Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle. We also
acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially
the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and
members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently
partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities
from imminent collapse.
While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and
desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the
roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work. We shall
never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university
system. For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!
Thank you for listening.

Biodun Ogunyemi
President
7th February, 2018

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