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ASUU threatens fresh strike, issues 3-week ultimatum to FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday gave a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement the agreement it reached with the union.

ASUU National President, Emmanuel Osodeke, issued the ultimatum after the union’s national executive council (NEC) meeting at the University of Abuja.

Osodeke said the industrial action is necessitated due to government failure to implement the memorandum of action (MoA) signed with the union upon which the last strike action was called off.

The union had embarked on a nine-month strike in 2020 over the unmet demands by the Nigerian government.

Some of the demands include those of unpaid academic earned allowances and the universities revitalisation fund that are yet to be addressed almost one year after an agreement was reached.

ASUU had earlier warned the federal government not to push the union into another strike by neglecting its demands.

“Finally, we call on all patriotic Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria to prevail on the federal and state governments to act fast to prevent another round of industrial crisis in Nigeria’s public universities,” Osodeke said.

“It is painful that our Union may soon have no other way of securing the implementation of FGN-ASUU collectively bargained agreements and redressing the criminal neglect of welfare issues of our members by State Governors.

“Governments of
Nigerian should be held responsible should ASUU be forced to activate the strike it patriotically suspended,” he said.

Meanwhile, the union said it was not convinced with the appointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, as a Professor by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Imo State.

Recall that the FUTO chapter off ASUU had recently said standard processes were followed in the appointment of Pantami as Professor of Cybersecurity in the university following an investigation by the panel.

But reacting, the national leadership of the union said there was something wrong in the appointment of Panatami as Professor.

“The controversy this appointment has generated is unprecedented in the recent history of Nigerian universities. Indeed, it has generated passionate comments and responses from individuals and groups within and outside the nation.

“The controversy centres on the perceived roles played by the University administration in the alleged fraudulent appointment, and the subsequent seeming endorsement by the ASUU branch at FUTO. Consequently, some media commentators – print electronic and social have impugned that the national body of ASUU was in agreement with the position of ASUU FUTO Branch on the said appointment.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth. ASUU, as a Union has never supported, promoted or endorsed any illegal appointment or promotion of academics in any Nigerian University, including those of its members. As a Union, we have always insisted on strict adherence to due process and the rule of law in all aspects of university administration and governance,” ASUU national president stated.

In view of the foregoing, the union rejected the FUTO chapter of ASUU committee’s report and set up an independent committee to investigate all issues surrounding the controversial appointment of Dr. Pantami as a Professor of Cyber Security in the University.

He added, “Thereafter, the position of ASUU-NEC shall be made known to the public. In addition, another committee shall visit the ASUU-FUTO branch with a view to determining the role of members in the controversial appointment and report back to NEC for further action.”

The union further lamented the state of insecurity, especially in the educational institutions which is gradually becoming a norm, saying the security architecture in the country has almost collapsed.

It said, “There is need for government to ensure porous borders around the northwest and northeast to mitigate the spread of terrorists and bandits from neighboring countries, and increase political will and determination to end insecurity to disprove the popular cliche that ‘if I security lasts for more than 24 hours, the government has a hand in it.”

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