BLAME GAME: The Academic Staff Union of Universities said the Federal Government, and not its members, are responsible for the union’s prolonged strike.
It therefore appealed to Nigerians to ask the government when it will sign the agreement reached at the just concluded renegotiation meeting.
The PUNCH reported that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on Monday told striking lecturers to consider the future generation and resume work, saying “enough is enough for keeping students at home.”
However, ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with The PUNCH, urged Nigerians to ask the government when it would attend to the union’s demands.
He said, “We are waiting for the government after the renegotiation meeting. We have not heard anything from them.
“It will be a month on July 16, 2022 since they met with us. Nigerians should ask them when they will ask us to come and sign the report/agreement of the renegotiation meeting.
“After all the promises they made, by July 16, 2022, this month, it will be one month and these young Nigerians are languishing at home doing nothing.”
While speaking on their salary that was withheld due to the ongoing strike, Osodeke said it was unnecessary to take the government to court over it, adding that the case would be delayed for years if the union did so.
“On our withheld salaries, if we decide to take them to court, they will mock us by getting their smart lawyers, and the case will be adjourned for years, then it will go to the appeal court. On the issue that concerns our members, this government will leave and we will be in court for years,” he said.
Also, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU-Lagos, Zone, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, in a statement, accused the President of being insensitive.
The National Vice-President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Dr Abdussobur Salaam, also said, “The government itself has been delaying the process of negotiations. It seems they are comfortable with allowing the strike to linger because there has been no serious commitment to any issues so far. Government must show more commitment towards resolving the issues that led to the strike.”
Also, the chairperson of ASUU in the Federal University of Minna, Dr Gbolahan Bolarin, accused the President of playing psychological games by involving the future generation in his statement.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), also on Tuesday called on Buhari to urgently address ASUU’s needs.
Falana, in a statement made available to The PUNCH, accused the government of ignoring warning strikes initially embarked upon by the union.
Efforts to reach the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on the fresh efforts to end the ongoing strike by ASUU proved abortive as messages and calls to his known line were not answered as of the time of filing this report.