THE ongoing industrial action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) might not be over anytime soon as the Federal Government’s re-negotiating committee has failed to reach a compromise with the union.
Instead, the meeting adjourned for another one week to enable the sub-committee recently raised to conclude its work on the details of the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement.
This was made known by ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Isa-Faggae, in an interview with journalists in Abuja after the meeting with the Presidential Implementation Committee on NEEDS Assessment in Nigerian Universities, chaired by BenueState Governor, Gabriel Suswam.
Meanwhile, apparently foreseeing that the Federal Government was in no hurry to cede ground, ASUU yesterday invited the clergy, traditional rulers and stakeholders to prevail on the Federal Government to respect the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement and to make integrity its watch word.
Acting Chairman of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) chapter of ASUU, Uche Omeje, told newsmen in Enugu that is “demeaning, despicable, and an expression of lack of integrity on government’s part to renege on its promise.”
According to Omeje, “ASUU and Nigerians are worried by the institutionalised falsehood and the lack of integrity exhibited by the Federal Government and hence condemns this perfidy in its entirety.”
He expressed the determination of union members to continue with the ongoing strike until government implements the agreement and memorandum of understanding it freely entered with the union in 2012.
However, Suswam was optimistic that the end of the strike was in sight, noting that the issues in contention would be squarely addressed when the committee reassembles next Tuesday.
Yesterday’s meeting, which took place at the Benue Governor’s Lodge at Asokoro, and attended by the two ministers in the Ministry of Education, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the Senate, representatives of other varsity unions such as NASU, SSANU and NAATS, among others, did not make appreciable progress.
Issa-Fagee told newsmen: “You could see that today’s meeting was very short because the sub-committee has not finished its work. We are going to resume again on Tuesday next week to look at what the committee has as a final report.”
According to him, the committee is supposed to provide the union with a template on how best to look at what had been presented by government in terms of making provisions for infrastructure rehabilitation in the universities.
Asked how close the union was to calling off the strike, he said: “I keep telling you that I decide how to cross my bridge when I reach (it).
There is nothing on the table; when the sub-committee finishes its work and tables it before us, we will look at it.”
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