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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Federal Government Refuses To Stop ASUU Strike...Strike Action Starts Today

A tripartite meeting called at the instance of the Federal Government to stop the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike has ended in a deadlock.

Consequently, the one-week strike will begin (today), thereby forcing some universities, including the University of Ibadan to postpone their semester examinations.

One of our correspondents learnt that a series of meetings were held last week, the last of which was on Thursday.

A source said the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, chaired the meeting, which had his counterpart in the Ministry of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, in attendance.

Although a number of issues, prominent among which was the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement were deliberated upon, the Federal Government team could not get the ASUU leadership to commit the union to abandone its planned action.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Education, Aliyu Othman confirmed this to one of correspondents on the telephone on Sunday.

He said, “They held a meeting last week Thursday and ASUU said it may not be possible to stop the (warning) strike, but it was agreed that the implementation committee be given up till November to conclude deliberations.”

It was agreed at the meeting that the existing Federal-Government/ ASUU Agreement Implementation Committee should co-opt the federal ministries of Finance, Labour and Productivity and the Budget Office.

However, investigations by our correspondents in universities in Lagos, Ife, Jos, Benin, Port Harcourt, Ago-Iwoye and Calabar revealed that the local chapters of ASUU in these institutions had concluded arrangements to ensure the success of the strike.

The UI, ASUU Chairman, Dr. Ademola Aremu, on Sunday said that the union had written to inform the authorities that the strike would begin today.

He said, “We have written the University administration to inform them that our strike will commence by 12:01am on Monday. We notified Provost of College of Medicine, the Registrar, the Librarian, all the Directors of Institutes and all the heads of departments through a letter.

“We attached an instruction procedure which emphasises that the strike will be total and comprehensive.”

Ighalo said it was only the national body of the union that could give orders for its cancellation and therefore barred institutions in the zone, comprising University of Benin, Edo State, Delta State University, Ambrose Ali University and the Niger Delta University, in Edo and Bayelsa states respectively from participating in the strike.

The Chairman, ASUU Rivers State University of Science and Technology branch, Dr. Felix Igwe, said the union had mobilised its members for the warning strike following the Federal Government’s refusal to implement an agreement reached in 2009.

Igwe stated that varsity lecturers in the two state-owned universities were set for the warning strike, arguing that RSUST and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education were most affected by the non-implementation of the ASUU/government agreement.

UNIJos ASUU Chairman, Dr. David Yakubu, told one of our correspondents that the strike would start from 12 midnight of Sunday. He said that lecturers had already been mobilised and were ready for the warning strike.

His counterpart at the University of Calabar, Dr. James Okpiliya, said the struggle by the union over the years had been propelled by the need to recover the university system from collapse and reposition it to play its cardinal role in national development.



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