The House of Representatives has intervened in the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Adopting a motion sponsored by Mr. Dozie Nwankwo at plenary, yesterday, presided by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged the Ministry of Labour and Employment and ASUU to adhere to the provisions of the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Action (MoA).
The House called on the lecturers to call off the warning strike in the interest of Nigerian students and education sector.
The lawmakers, thereby, mandated the Committees on Labour, Employment and Productivity as well as Tertiary Education and Services to interface with the concerned ministries, Civil Society Organisations, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and ASUU to address the outstanding issues responsible for the strike.
Nwankwo argued that the consequences of the strike were embarrassingly becoming too frequent and with consequences too damning to the education sector, as “one month strike is a too much disruption to an academic calendar” and too much time for an idle mind to cause havoc.
However, the Federal Government has been blamed for allowing the industrial action by ASUU. Chairman, Awka branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Emmanuel Okechukwu (Jr), took the stand yesterday, in Awka, while reacting to the ASUU ongoing strike.
ASUU has embarked on a one-month warning strike from Monday, February 14 2022, citing the government’s failure to implement the MoU and MoA it signed the government as well as the government’s poor commitment to the payment of Academic Earned Allowance (EAA).
According to the activist, breaching the agreement, which it reached with the union in 2009, is an indication of disregard of education in Nigeria.
But, the Federal Government has assured that the warning strike will not snowball into full-scale industrial action.
At the resumed conciliation meeting with the union, yesterday, in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said the government was surprised ASUU negated the understanding and assurances it gave through NIREC led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, also blamed the Federal Government for the strike, alleging that apart from not implementing the 2020 MOA, the government also failed to convene the regular implementation monitoring meeting as agreed.
ASUU insisted that suspending the industrial action depended entirely on the Federal Government, as members were determined not shift ground until their demands are met.
Chairman of ASUU in Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Dr. Samuel Alu, has said that his members complied fully to the nationwide strike by the national body.
Alu made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Keffi, yesterday. He said that since the institution’s chapter joined the strike on February 16, compliance had been total, as all members had stopped academic work.
“I want to let you know that without mincing words, compliance in NSUK is total and comprehensive. Academic activities have been grounded, in line with the instructions of our national body,” he said.