We don’t always love to go on strike — ASUU

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria have sought to correct the perception among some Nigerians regarding their stance on strikes, emphasizing that union members do not relish going on strike.

Speaking with journalists at the Kwara State University (KWASU) campus in Malete on Wednesday, the institution’s ASUU chairman, Abdulganiyu Sheu Salau, stated that the union is weary of the federal government’s alleged hypocrisy.

The union recalled that in 2009, the federal government reached an agreement with ASUU on critical issues concerning conditions of service, funding, and university autonomy, but failed to fulfill the agreement.

“ASUU members are parents with children in various Nigerian universities. Why would we want a situation where our children are sent home? However, we are compelled to go on strike because despite our numerous attempts to engage the government, there has been no response. We have exhausted all channels, both formal and informal, without any progress. Resorting to strike action, as permitted by university regulations, becomes our last option. Some of our members are owed salaries and some are leaving the country for places like South Africa and England,” he explained.

“I want to assert that the struggles and strikes by our union have been instrumental in securing many of the infrastructures we see in universities today, including those here at KWASU. Without our struggles, Nigerian universities would have suffered. We are not strike enthusiasts; we are hardworking citizens. This is why we are raising awareness among the public, students, market women, stakeholders, etc., about our situation. We do not desire strikes, but we cannot teach on empty stomachs. Our senior colleagues (professors) are earning as little as $300. How can we sustain ourselves with that?” he rhetorically asked.

The union also criticized the federal government for failing to implement UNESCO’s recommendation of allocating 26% of the national budget to education, a benchmark for underdeveloped countries like Nigeria, as advocated by ASUU.

Salau lamented the consistently low budget allocation to education by successive Nigerian governments, averaging between 5% to 8% of the total budget over the past decade.

He highlighted one of the ongoing issues as the funding for the Revitalization of Public Universities, as outlined in the FGN-ASUU Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2012, 2013, and the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2017.

“Instead of improvement, the federal government has chosen to reduce resources allocated to the education sector, diverting funds to programs that do not directly benefit Nigerian public universities,” Salau added.

The ASUU chairman also urged the Kwara State government to address their demands and emphasized the need for the state government to improve infrastructure and welfare for lecturers.

Other contentious issues include:

i. Illegal dissolution of Governing Councils in Federal and State Universities: ASUU has opposed the unlawful dissolution of Governing Councils in public universities, even when no wrongdoing has been reported and the councils have not completed their terms.

iii. Release of Withheld Salaries: ASUU members in federal universities have yet to receive three and a half months’ salaries withheld during a previous strike, despite covering lost curriculum time. ASUU condemns the apparent lack of concern from authorities regarding its members’ welfare and warns of potential actions to demand resolution.

iv. Payment of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) and Arrears: The 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement stipulates that the government fund EAA. The December 2020 FGN/ASUU MoA reaffirmed the integration of EAA into members’ monthly salaries, with the next tranche of allowances expected in 2021.


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