The Chairmen of ASUU Branches nationwide had expressed their readiness to begin talks of a new strike over the failure of the FG to honor the agreement on IPPIS and its non-implementation.
One of the Chairman of the ASUU branch, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Dr. Ibrahim Inuwa, said the strike earlier in December, which was done in the interest of both the student and lecturers to enable a smooth run of the Federal Universities, was suspended by the agreement between the two parties by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the various issues and providing a time frame for the actualization of each of the eight items in the agreement.
Over seven months after the MoU was signed, only two out of the eight issues had been addressed. Some of the issues that need addressing include payment of the earned academic allowance, funding for revitalization of public universities, salary shortfall, proliferation of state universities and setting up visitation panels.
Others are renegotiation, replacing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution and withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
The earlier nine-month-long strike action wasn’t enough to make the government cooperate. So, the Association thinks it would be justifiable if they embark on another industrial action. This isn’t a surprise, as it has been a prominent feature in the Public University system for ages.
When two elephants fight, they say the grasses suffer. It’s quite unfortunate that the student will bear the wrath of this incorporation by the Federal government; the leaders of tomorrow are stuck in a spot, unmoving.
From the record, below is a statement of the previous Industrial Action held by ASUU.
But it didn’t take long for Nigerian students to experience a disruption in their academic pursuit.
In 1999, after the end of the military era, Nigerians ushered in democracy and a government that promised to be people-oriented. Few months after the Obasanjo-Atiku administration was sworn in, ASUU embarked on a nationwide strike, and it lasted for five months.
In 2001, ASUU declared another strike over the reinstatement of 49 lecturers sacked at the University of Ilorin. The industrial action was aggravated when the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, described Nigerian University lecturers as “a bunch of lazy and ungrateful people.” The strike was called off after three months.
2002: Having had an agreement with the Federal Government during the previous strike, the union was forced to embark on another industrial action on December 29, 2002, after the Obasanjo administration failed to implement the agreement. The strike lasted for only two weeks.
Furthermore, in 2003, Nigerian University undergraduates had to stay at home again for six months as ASUU embarked on another industrial action due to the non-implementation of previous agreements, which covered poor university funding and disparity in salary and retirement age.
2005: University students experienced another disruption in their academic calendars as lecturers went on another industrial action. The strike lasted two weeks.
Again, in April 2006, academic activities were paralyzed in all public Universities when ASUU declared a three-day warning strike. It eventually lasted for one week.
Another one followed the 2006 industrial action on March 26, 2007. The strike lasted for three months. The reasons for the strike were pretty much the same as the previous strike.
In a bid to press home its demands, ASUU went on strike for one week in 2008. The demands included an improved salary scheme and reinstatement of 49 lecturers dismissed at the University of Ilorin.
In 2009, lecturers in public universities across the country embarked on an industrial action that lasted four months. The strike forced them to embark on another industrial action on December 29, 2002, after the Obasanjo administration failed to implement the agreement. The strike lasted for only two weeks.
Another industrial action was on July 1, 2013, and called off on December 17, 2013. It lasted five months and 15 days.
On August 17, 2017, ASUU again declared an indefinite strike over unresolved and contentious issues with the Federal Government. The strike was called off in September.
Due to the Federal Government’s failure to meet its demands, ASUU declared an indefinite nationwide strike. The union announced the strike on November 4, 2018, after their National Executive Council meeting held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State.
On March 23, 2020, ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike; the same week, President Muhammadu Buhari imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The strike lasted nine months.
From the trend from the past to the present, which can be faulted for the strikes? The FG or ASUU or Both? Answer in the comment section below to share your views
To avert this upcoming strike, The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be hosting a meeting with ASUU. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 2, 2021, at the Minister’s Conference Room.
We await the result of the meeting.