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Just In: FG presents certificates to two breakaway ASUU factions
The Federal Government on Tuesday presented certificates of registration to the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA), two breakaway factions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige did the presentation, in an apparent move to break the resolve of the striking union.
Ngige explained that the two bodies will exist along aside ASUU.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022 as lecturers of public universities protest unpaid allowances and demand better welfare package from the Federal Government.
Please return to classrooms, ‘I’m very pained’ Buhari begs ASUU
Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has begged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call of off its ongoing strike action, noting that he is personally pained by the frequent closure of the nation’s public universities.
The president who said this on Saturday during a media chat to mark Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary, appealed to the striking lecturers to return to classrooms while negotiations on other unresolved issues on the union’s demand list.
The president said: “I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system and I am using this Independence Day celebration to re-iterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available.”
Buhari said his administration has made appreciable progress in redressing “these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years.”
He said the government will continue to mobilise resources “both internationally and nationally towards funding education to ensure that our citizens are well educated and skilled in various vocations in view of the fact that education is a leading determinant of economic growth and employment generation.”
The strike by ASUU has crippled all academic activities in all Nigerian public universities since 14 February.
The development has led to agitations among Nigerians and particularly students under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
The lecturers are demanding better pay, improved conditions of service as well better funding for the university system as contained in several agreements it has had with the government.
The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission, Monday afternoon, withdrew its circular which ordered vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors and governing councils to re-open federal universities.
The NUC, in a circular had directed all vice-chancellors; pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities to re-open universities. The development had however, been greeted with criticism.
But in another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which was also signed by the Director, Finance and Account of the NUC, Sam Onazi, the commission withdrew the order.
The PUNCH reports that though it did not explain why, he letter tagged, “withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022” partly read, “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022 on the above
“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils, as well as vice-chancellors of federal universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.
“Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards”
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down all international airports starting from September 23, over the lingering strike BY the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
NANS expressed its displeasure over the federal government failure to meet the demand of ASUU and students association, claiming that its four-day protest on highways and expressways was a success.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the chairman NANS national task force on “End ASUU Strike Now”, Ojo Raymond Olumide, said members of the association will disrupt international travels starting from September 19, until the government experience the suffering that students had gone through over the last seven months.
“The four-day shutdown of busy highways and expressways had been a success, hence the move to disrupt international travels in order for the bourgeois and the government to feel the pains that had subjected students to in the past seven months,” Mr Olumide said.
He said that students are tired of pleading with both parties about the necessity of ending the strike, adding that the Muhammadu Buhari-led regime must “settle all outstanding arrears and the lecturers’ salaries.”
The NANS task force Chairman added: “We shall begin another round of protest next week by storming the airspaces on Monday, 19th September 2022 to #OccupyTheAirports. We want to let the world know about the pains and anguish students are going through.
“Nigerian students whose parents create the commonwealth cannot continue to be suffering at home alongside our lecturers while the few who gain from our sweats and blood have their kids abroad jollying and flexing.
“We call on students to rise and join us as we take our destinies into our hands. Our demands remain consistently clear and simple. We call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solidarity actions and plan for the next phase of the struggles.”
The association passed a vote of no confidence on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The student association said that the description of their protests by the minister for works, Babatunde Fashola’s, as “illegal” proved that the government was “hell-bent on destroying every remnant of state welfare left” than to revamp public education.
“Instead of them (federal and state governments) responding to us responsibly; we were shocked that the Minister of Works Babatunde Fashola came up with an illegal utterance befitting of only rabble-rousers and political irritants by calling out fundamental human rights ‘illegal’,” he said.
“They are never apologetic and are hell-bent on destroying every remnant of State welfare left. They prefer to kill the public schools instead of revamping them.
“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We shall be mobilizing all students to shut down the country. No Education! No Movement,” the statement added.
ASUU Strike: Buhari Meets With Committee of Pro-Chancellors in Abuja
Some selected members of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of the universities owned by the Federal Government have met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The meeting is to find a way to end the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, it was reported.
Recall that the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU started on February 14.
The Special Assistant to the President on Digital Communications, Bashir Ahmed disclosed this in a post on his official social media handles.
He wrote, “President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with selected members of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of the Federal Universities, at the State House, Abuja”.
Recall that Federal Government had, after several failed efforts to resolve issues with the university lecturers, dragged the union to the National Industrial Court.
Justice Polycap Hamman on Friday adjourned the matter till Monday, September 19 for ruling.
FG vs ASUU: Industrial Court fixes September 19 for hearing
The National Industrial Court has adjourned the suit filed by Nigeria’s federal government challenging the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to Monday, September 19 for a hearing of the interlocutory application of the government.
At the resumed sitting on Friday, counsel to the federal government, James Igwe, asked the court to give the suit an accelerated hearing due to the urgency of the matter to enable the students to return to school.
Igwe told the court that since the matter was already in court, it would be proper for the strike to be called off, pending the determination of the suit.
The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke has said that the union is willing to end its seven-month old strike.
Osodeke, however, said this could only be achieved if concrete agreements were reached with the Federal Government.
Osodeke gave the assurance in Abuja on Thursday at a National Town Hall Meeting on Tertiary Education tagged: ‘ The Locked Gates of our Citadels -A National Emergency.’
Recall that the union embarked on industrial action on Feb.14, making it over seven months since public universities across the country were closed down.
The Federal Government recently sued ASUU at the industrial court in an attempt to end the strike.
“On all these issues, we have given the government a minimum that we can accept, but they have not responded on issue of revitilisation, on issue of earned allowance and on issues that we have all discussed.
” We negotiated and agreed that they should sign and this is very simple, not more than one day.
” On UTAS and IPPIS , we say release the report of the test you did and let’s look at the one who came first and take it as we agreed.
” So we have given them the minimum we want and we have to come down and they can do it in one day if there is a will,” he said.
Osodeke, therefore, reiterated the union’s commitment to return to school if the Federal Government puts its proposal on the table, saying that negotiation could be reached if the government was willing.
“If the government loves this country, these children and their parents, then they should come to the table and let us resolve these issues in one day.
“Just as we did in 2014, they should come and ensure that we do that, we can even have the meeting openly so that Nigeria will see what we are discussing,” he said.
The ASUU president expressed sadness over the lingering strike resulting to government taking the union to court.
He said that suing the union was not an option as it would further worsen the situation of the students and tertiary education in the country.
He said that if the court forces the lecturers to return to school, they won’t force them to teach with open minds, saying that the students would definitely be at the receiving end.
Osodeke commended the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors for stepping in to resolve the issues
He, therefore, called on parents and students to appeal to the government to do the needful so that the strike would come to an end once and for all, rather than attacking the union.
Meanwhile, Mrs Vivian Bello , Convener, Save Public Education Campaign, an NGO, pleaded with both parties to resolve the problems saying that the students are not the only people feeling the negative impact, but also the union.
Bello said that it behooves on both sides to bring the crisis to a perpetual end for the sake of the students as well as the development of education in the country.
” We are going to play our traditional role which is the role of monitor.
” We are going to keep very strong searchlight on the two actors- both in the government and on ASUU, in order to see that this issue of back and forth is quickly brought to an end the strike will be called-off,” she said.
Some of the contentious issues that led to the strike by the unions include the non-release of revitalisation fund, non-payment of earned allowance (or earned academic allowance), renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, and the release of white paper for visitation panel.
Others are: the non-payment of minimum wage arrears and the inconsistency occasioned by the use of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). (NAN)
The communiqué partly read, “We are aware that the Federal Government has sought a legal interpretation of the nature and character of the dispute as a way of breaking the deadlock.
“This is novel, and we applaud the move as civilised, however, both parties will faithfully abide by the provisions of Industrial Arbitration as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation Conventions.”
They proposed a middle ground where the government can resolve the trust issues by taking action to propose to the National Assembly its decision on improved funding.
ILO wades in
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the International Labour Organisation’s Country Director, Vanessa Phala, has stated that the organisation is providing technical assistance to the government to ensure that labour laws are amended.
She disclosed this at the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, on Wednesday in Abuja.
FG faults roadblocks
The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said protesting students who blocked a traffic-laden section of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway are “violating” the law.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said this when briefing State House Correspondents shortly after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
NANS justifies roadblocks
However, NANS has threatened the continuous blocking of major highways in Southwest states until the federal government yields to their demands by ending the ongoing strike.
NANS South-West Coordinator, Emmanuel Olatunji, who spoke exclusively with The PUNCH, said, “We know the protest might lead to suffering for other road users. We decided to do that because we knew that our parents were doing nothing. We want them to also feel the heat; we are sending a signal to the federal government and our parents.
“We will protest at different locations where we know that it might affect the federal government. After doing this protest at two to three major highways, then we will move the protest to government parastatals.”
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, was mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari to “solve” the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, crisis within two weeks. When the period expired, Adamu denied being given an ultimatum, and asked university students to “sue” their lecturers over the seven month-old strike.
Adamu’s suggestion, which had sounded comical then, has become the order of the day. The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Employment, has dragged ASUU before the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN. It seeks, among other reliefs, for the Court to compel ASUU to resume work while it (the NICN) is looking into the dispute in line with Section 18 (I) (b) of the TDA Cap T8. LFN 2004.
In a counter-measure, foremost social advocacy group, the Social and Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, along with five university students, has sued President Buhari, asking the court to “declare unlawful the refusal by the Federal Government to meet ASUU’s demands, which has occasioned the prolonged strike action and violated the students’ right to quality education”.
We see these resorts to legal actions as unnecessary and journeys to nowhere. They are mere delay tactics which will only further prolong the strike after a seven month-impasse. The lecturers went on strike because the Federal Government failed to honour its Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, and Memorandum of Action, MoA, which it signed with ASUU. Even if government obtains a favourable verdict, how would that compel unwilling teachers to return to work while their demands are not met?
Conversely, even if SERAP and the students get the reliefs they seek, how will that force the Federal Government to have the money they claim not to have? How will it resolve the dispute over the payment system? The courts can only lead these obstinate parties to the stream but cannot force them to drink.
We still believe there is no substitute for a negotiated and amicable settlement of this dispute. This case is unwinnable by any side. What is required at this moment is not ego or blame game. This dispute can only be resolved by give and take, provided that the Federal Government is willing to turn a new leaf from its age-old penchant to dishonour agreements signed by it.
ASUU’s main grouse or fear is that government only wants it to return to the classroom to, as usual, back out of any deal struck. The Federal Government is the primary offender here. If it had committed to solving the 13-year-old ASUU conundrum, it would have done so, or at least show by concrete example, the commitment to do so.
We hold the Federal Government accountable to lead efforts to end this ASUU strike. The buck stops on Buhari’s table.
ASUU Strike: Committee Of VCs Recommend ₦800,000 For Profs, To Resolve Deadlock
The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has urged the Federal Government to increase the salary of university professors to N800,000 as against the N1.2 million negotiated by the Nimi Briggs committee.
This will represent a 50% salary increase offer as against the 23% increase being proposed by the federal government.
The committee also set up a sustainable peace team of elders to resolve the lingering impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
According to NAN, this was confirmed by the Secretary-General of CVCNU and Co-ordinator of the team, Professor Michael Faborode, on Tuesday in Abuja through ‘The Sustainable Peace Team Working Paper’.
Faborode said that the goal of the team was not to allow the current impasse in the ASUU strike to prolong as its toll on all stakeholders and the nation had been colossal.
Members of the peace team of elders
Faborode said that to arrive at the final list, no serving Vice Chancellor or Pro-Chancellor is included and membership was based on the record of service as recorded by the CVCNU.
Strike: We’ve met 80% of ASUU’s demands – FG
The federal government has criticized the decision of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to further extend its ongoing strike action, claiming that it had met 80 percent of the union’s demands.
ASUU earlier on Monday, further extended its over six months old strike, citing lack of commitment from the government.
The action of ASUU came after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting which took place at its University of Abuja Secretariat.
But reacting to the development, the federal government it had addressed 80 percent of the union’s demands, noting that the extension of strike was unreasonable.
The Federal Ministry of Education, speaking through its Director of Press and Public Relations, Bem Goong, said: “If you bring some demands and almost 80% have been attended to, there is no need to drag the strike anymore.”
According to him,“It is unreasonable for the strike to be lingering since the government has worked towards fulfilling most of the demands.”
Goong, who said the federal government had deployed all measures to end the strike, explained that, “As regards the next steps, the government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonize the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System,IPPIS, University Transparency and Accountability Solution,UTAS and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System,U3PS.
He explained that, “This will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonize all the technical peculiarities.”
Recall that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu Adamu, had last week, claimed that government had resolved most of the demands ASUU.
5Among the demands addressed, according to Adamu,was the release of N50 billion for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities.
ASUU Extends Ongoing Strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its ongoing strike action, leaving students stranded and out of school.
The union made the decision at its national executive council meeting held at the University of Abuja on Monday morning.
ASUU strike began in February and has been renewed since then.
The lecturers are demanding improved investment in public universities, better welfare and others.
SSANU, NASU suspend strike for two months
The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Education Institutions on Saturday suspended their ongoing strike for a period of two months.
SSANU’s national president, Muhammed Ibrahim disclosed this in an interview with Punch in Abuja.
“Yes, we have suspended the strike for a period of two months”, Ibrahim told our correspondent via a telephone call.
Like the Academic Staff Union of Universities, SSANU and NASU had also embarked on strike.
The unions had called for the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, payment of earned allowances, usurpation of non-academic career positions by vice-chancellors, the inclusion of university staff school into the university community, non-payment of minimum wage arrears, and funding of state universities.
A committee set up by the Federal Government and headed by the Emeritus Professor, Nimi Briggs had engaged in negotiations with the two unions.
Though Ibrahim did not disclose the demands of the unions which had been met, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu during a press briefing with state house correspondents last Thursday noted that the government had reached agreements with all the university based unions except ASUU which the minister claimed was requesting for payment of backlog of salaries, Punch reported.
The strike by SSANU and NASU has led to suspension in the issuance of academic transcripts; mobilisation of graduates for the compulsory one year service organized by the National Youth Service Corps.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia has described the federal government’s Consolidated Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS) as “unilateral”, hence unacceptable.
The group’s position is contained in a statement jointly issued by the Chairman and Secretary of the union, Michael Ugwuene and Paul Nwiyi, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Saturday.
The statement is entitled, “Failure of Government: Collective bargaining agreement is the way forward.”
It stated that CONUASS awarded increases of 35 per cent and 25 per cent of current salaries to professors and other ranks, respectively.
It argued that the review was prepared by the National Salaries,
ncome and Wages Commission and presented to the Prof. Nimi-Briggs-led FG/ASUU Renegotiation Committee, without inputs from ASUU.
“The crux of this matter is that the award is unilateral and a total breach of the provisions of all national and international legislations on which the Collective Bargaining Agreement is based,” the group stated.
It stated that the renegotiation process ought to have the input of both
government and ASUU teams as required by the Trade Dispute Act of 1976; ILO Conventions 49 of 1948, amongst others.
“A negotiated salary, needless to say, affords industrial harmony because the worker has made an input.
“A negotiated salary is a right, an awarded salary is potentially arbitrary and is just that: an award,” the statement added.
It further stated that none of the issues that precipitated the six-month-old strike, including salary, had been squarely addressed.
“Not even the issues that have no financial implications, like a commitment to adopt UTAS and the release of the Visitation Panel White Paper to the respective universities,” it added.
The group frowned at the committee’s resolve to push the payment of the Earned Academic Allowances to the individual universities.
It further expressed concern that rather than apply for a supplementary budget for its N170 billion revitalisation pledge, the federal government decided to shift the fund to the 2023 budget.