Contrary to optimistic reports that it might soon come to an end, the management of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the academic strike, which it embarked on 89 days ago, will continue.
This latest update on the strike, which has crippled academic activities in universities across the country, was given in a statement yesterday by the chairman of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter of the body, Karo Ogbinika.
This is in spite of the intervention by Vice President Namadi Sambo in bringing the lecturers back to the negotiation table.
Dr. Ogbinika reportedly said that ASUU pulled out of negotiations with the Federal Government, which was represented by Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam, last month based on the government’s insincerity and non-commitment.
He said the Presidency intervened, calling for another round of meetings with Vice President Namadi Sambo last week which, according to ASUU, also ended in a stalemate.
The teachers are seeking proper funding of education and the payment of their N87 billion earned allowances.
These are part of the 2009 agreement between the teachers and the government. The government has offered N30 billion for the earned allowances and made available N100billion for projects on the campuses. The lecturers rejected the offer. The strike has been on since July 1.
The union said it was disappointed because it hoped the Presidency’s intervention would dampen the tension the strike had generated; but, rather, the government was re-echoing the same stance by Suswam, which was why ASUU withdrew from the negotiation.
ASUU said: “After the meeting on September 19 with the Vice-President, it is clear that the Federal Government is merely paying lip service to education in Nigeria and deceiving the public on its commitment to its transformation agenda.
“The Nigerian people should not be deceived. How can there be a meaningful transformation when the education sector is neglected and gradually taken over by private entrepreneurs, including government functionaries who are busy building private universities with stolen funds in and outside Nigeria. Can these universities be truly called private?
“ASUU is assuring Nigerians that it will not back out in its struggle to ensure that the government is made to do what is right in the education sector. This is a commitment that all members of the union have vowed to pursue to its logical conclusion.”
The union said it had reported back to its various zones many of which still insisted the strike must continue.”