Protracted standoff between FG & ASUU, Union declares indefinite strike.
Federal universities across the country have been on a nationwide strike which initially commenced on February 14, 2022, as a result of their failure at fulfilling the agreement that was reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities at an improved funding to better welfarism for its members and enhanced learning environment. This strike action started as a four week warning strike and has gone on over the past 6 months intensely affecting students of federal institutions who are entrapped in a stagnant education system and are now collateral damages of the federal government’s series of failed meetings with the academic union.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities announced their intention to further extend the ongoing nationwide strike by four weeks. This decision was reached by the union’s National Executive Council (NEC), after a seemingly lengthy and unsuccessful attempt at reaching an agreement with the Federal government. This extension was described as a result of the union’s deliberations. Recognizing that the past and current failures of the federal government reaching its own part of the bargain to resolve the problems raised at the FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MOA) that took place in 2020.
This indefinite strike, longest in Nigeria’s academic history.
This academic strike, which has been recorded as one of the longest in Nigeria’s history was declared indefinite in August due to the protracted standoff between the union and the Federal Government. Numerous extensions were granted to the government so as to well acknowledge all the union’s demands, which included payment of salaries. The union’s leaders were however forced to declare an indefinite strike on August 30 in all federal public universities across the country.
In a released statement, the union’s leadership noted that the indefinite strike was a cautious measure, aimed at saving the public universities from imminent collapse. Emmanuel Osodeke the Union’s president, once said the union’s plan to embark on a roll over warning strike action was to provide the Federal Government with enough time to settle the demands of the union, however stated the union’s decision to transform the roll over strike into a full-fledged, complete and indefinite strike action.
Students also criticize the FG and Academic Union for incessant strike.
He further stated that the government had recurrently showed immense complacency at acknowledging the the demands of the union like paying up the agreed funds to be used for the needed renovation of public universities. The failure to address the proliferation and structural state of these universities, as well as the failure at resolving the outstanding promotion arrears and withheld salaries of the workers. Osodeke also expressed his disbelief as to how rashly the Federal Government have handled this situation, even upon their promises.
Numerous students have also aired their grievances at the prolonged academic strike action, criticizing both the Federal Government and Academic Union for continually sacrificing their time, making them collateral damage. One student, Emmanuel Odunayo who is a first year Physics student at Obafemi Awolowo University, lamented about having to lose two academic years as a result of the incessant academic strikes. According to him, the precedence of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, coupled with the continued strike actions led to the loss of one academic year and is on course of losing another year.
Strike actions continue to jeopardize the future of numerous students.
Understanding that the future of numerous students are at risk, there have been pleas from parents and students to reach an agreement swiftly, so that students can return to school. Emmanuel Odunayo, on appealing to the Union noted that their actions continue to jeopardize the futures of numerous students. The Union has however urged the students and parents to overtly support their demands for a much improved working and learning conditions. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the student’s umbrella body, also critical of this situation, have appealed to the Union to end this indefinite strike.
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