The Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to as a matter of urgency resolve the issues leading to ASUU’s strike so that students can go back to school.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the National President, PTA, Danjuma Haruna, said an additional two months strike would have devastating implications on the education sector.
He said, “It will have devastating implications on the education sector in the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. We call on both ASUU and representatives of the Federal Government to go back to the dialogue table and resolve their problems.
“Not every parent in the country can afford taking his child abroad or to a private university for studies, hence, the need for both the Federal Government and ASUU to help towards going back to the dialogue table so as to save the situation and keep our students and teacher in school.
“The strike comes amid an increase in the price of foodstuff, high cost of petroleum and general insecurity challenges bedeviling the peace, stability in the country. We don’t want our children to spend three months at home because of the strike. We are begging the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency go back and resolve their problems with ASUU”
ASUU warns Ngige, Adamu against salary suspension, legal action
Meanwhile, ASUU has cautioned the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige and his ministry of education counterpart, Adamu Adamu against taking trade union actions against university lecturers.
Though the ministers had not announced plans of taking actions against the union, ASUU said it was necessary to caution the ministers against taking a “hopeless step” in a bid to get the striking lecturers back to work.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Monday.
The PUNCH reports that ASUU on Monday had announced a two months extension of its initial four weeks warning strike which it declared on Monday, February 14, 2022 at the University of Lagos.
According to a statement released by the union and made available to our correspondents, the union said it made the decision to extend the strike so as to give the Federal Government and its agencies enough time to meet the lingering demands of the union.
The statement read in part, “NEC acknowledged the intervention efforts, in various ways, by patriots and friends of genuine national development (students, parents, journalists, trade union leaders, civil society activists etc.) to expeditiously resolve the crisis which the government’s disposition had allowed to fester.
“However, ASUU, as a union of intellectuals, has obligations to make the government honour agreements. NEC, having taken reports on the engagements of the trustees and principal officers with the government, concluded that government had failed to satisfactorily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action within the four-week roll-over strike period and resolved that the strike be rolled over for another eight weeks to give Government more time to address all the issues in concrete terms so that our students will resume as soon as possible.”
Speaking with The PUNCH, Osodeke noted that the union was ready to suspend the strike immediately the government does the needful. The Professor of soil science at the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, however, warned the government against taking actions against the union.
He said, “We expect that in the next one or two weeks, the Federal Government would solve all the issues. If they solve them next week, students will resume. If after eight weeks, they remain nonchalant, then the NEC will meet again and take action.
“Now, if they say they will apply the no-work-no-pay directive or take us to the industrial court like they did with the doctors last year, they should know that it is a hopeless step, we will also go the same way with them.
Option two is that if they choose to drag us to court, remember when Ngige took doctors to court, a very hopeless step and he forced them back to work, what happened? When Saudi Arabia came, the doctors left the country. Who is the loser? Nigeria is the loser. Instead of solving a minor problem, you say you want to charge them to court. That simple action caused this country a lot.
“If he tries it, I can assure you that most of the academics will leave this country because they have jobs waiting for them outside the country. If they want to go the bizarre way, let them go, the country will pay for it. We also have a choice, if they want to force us to call off the strike, he should jail us.”
FG has met ASUU’s demand – Minister
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, while reacting to the extended strike, said the Federal Government had met all of ASUU’s demands.
In an interview with journalists at the end of the commemoration of the 2022 Commonwealth Celebration in Abuja on Monday, Nwajiuba said all earned allowances as well as revitalisation funds had been released.
“ASUU announced and we met and everything that they have demanded, we have done all of them including the earned allowances and the revitalisation fund; they choose to extend it for two months may be,” he said.
Don’t return to work, strike still in force, OAU ASUU tells members
Meanwhile, ASUU at the Obafemi Awolowo Universities, Ile-Ife, on Monday, told its members that the ongoing industrial action by the lecturers was still in force hence, they should not return to their duty posts.
A statement by OAU ASUU Chairman, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, directed members of the union not to attend postgraduate seminars and oral examinations.
Egbedokun also told ASUU members not to participate in online classes, processing of results, attendance at statutory meetings, among others.
The statement read in parts, “The strike action is still in force and no member, irrespective of office held, should attend postgraduate seminars and oral examinations, online classes, processing of results (graduating and non-graduating)
“Comrades, let us remain resolute. This government has demonstrated that they do not have capacity to conspire to do any good unless forced.
“Let no one cajole or blackmail us with the argument about students being the ones suffering the negative effect of our strike.”