No end in sight; hunger won’t force us to resume, ASUU tells Nigeria govt

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said its members are not beggars and the stoppage of their salaries by the government won’t force them to call off their strike, as their is no end in sight.

The leadership of the union also commended the members for keeping faith with the union despite the hardship imposed on their families as a result of the No-Work-No-Pay directive of the Federal Government.

Following the failure of the government to meet some lingering demands of the union, ASUU on February 14, 2022 announced a one-month warning strike, followed by another eight-week strike before it eventually commenced its indefinite strike.

The continued strike led to the imposition of No-Work-No-Pay by the Federal Government. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the directive was in compliance with Section 43 of the Labour Law.

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Though some of the demands by the union are still undergoing negotiations, the ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed optimism that the union was on the threshold of victory.

He however noted that the resolve of the union forced the government to engage in negotiations.

He said, “As the struggle continues, our members are commended for their commitment and steadfastness in the patriotic struggle for the survival of the university system in our country.

“We are on the threshold of victory. Let us keep faith with the union. A people united can never be defeated.”

AF24news recalls that lecturers in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have embarked on no fewer than 719 days of strike during the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

READ ALSO: Nigeria says resolving its university union strike of ASUU is complex

Education rights groups such as Reform Education Nigeria, Education Rights Campaign among others have continued to call for a total reform of the tertiary education sector.

…cautions Edo govt

Meanwhile, the Niger Delta University branch of the union has said the state government has no power to disrupt its ongoing strike by directing lecturers in its universities to return to the classroom.

The state government had suspended all union activities in institutions of higher learning in the state following protest by students of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, over the lingering ASUU strike.

According to The Punch, the ASUU Chairman in NDU, Bayelsa State, Prof Tombara Kingdom, said the union’s action was captured in the exclusive legislative list of the constitution and could not be dismissed by the Edo State government.

He added, “We have told our members not to go back to the classrooms, and I believe the members of ASUU in Ambrose Alli University will not listen to that directive from the state government. The state government should go back and look at the law books. They should know that they don’t have that power to suspend union activities. Union activities are on the exclusive list of the Nigerian Constitution.

“I advise them (Edo State Government) to retrace their steps so they can realise that they don’t have any power to suspend union activities. Such a directive from the state government is null and void. It is ultra vires. It will not hold water; they are just wasting their time.”