By: Muhammad Adeyemi (200 level Biochemistry Department, UDUS)
The Industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) hits day 58 today and the report from reliable sources on Wednesday, 2nd of January 2019 depicts the propensity that the Industrial Action may end anytime soon.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) has embarked on indefinite strike since November 5, 2018 to pester the Federal Government in order to honour their agreement of; revitalization the poor funding of Nigeria Universities, Shortfall of Salaries of academic staffs and other contentious issues.
In order to find solution to the strike which has turned the University activities to a shambolic and erratic state and sent the students back to their parents, the National Association of Nigeria Students(NANS) has on 23rd of December 2018 gave the Federal Government and ASUU 2 weeks ultimatum to resolve their differences after the two parties have failed to reach compromise after six series of meeting.
Meanwhile; after the ultimatum elapsed and both parties failed to reach compromise, the National President of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) Comr. Danielson Bamidele Akpan (GCNS) has on Monday 31st December 2018 issued a memo across all NANS organs(Public Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education) in the country notifying them on the need for the mobilization after the Federal government and Union leaders can not reach an agreement within NANS ultimatum of 31st December 2018.
The memorandum reads :
“May I inform the general public that the impasse between FG and ASUU is being prolonged by ASUU who staged a workout from negotiations on issues bothering non payment of some academic staff salaries shortfall, non release of operational license for NUPEMCO and non payment of earned academic allowances, which FG on its part has fulfilled two out of these demands. The minor disagreement over figure in salaries shortfall which the FG claimed to be Fifteen billion naira as against ASUU’s Twenty five billion naira.”
The Nassarawa State University student, Comr Danielson Akpan further stated that ” Non of the issues mentioned above directly improves lot of Nigeria students or infrastructure and basic amenities on our campuses. Again, the question, why are Nigerian students made to suffer for the interests of ASUU or ASUP which does not improve lots of Nigeria students arises.”
We are again bewildered by ASUU’s blackmail and attempts to cause disaffection among our members claiming to be fighting for our interest. Can you barb the hair of a man behind you? He asked.
He, therefore directed all NANS structures across the federation which are the Students Union Governments, Joint Campus Committees, Zonal structures, NANS Senate, NANS National Executives and other NANS organs which include NAUS, NAPS, NANCES, LAWSAN etc on notice to begin meetings and mobilization immediately ahead of the mass action commencing on the 7th of January, 2019.
Two days after Nigeria students decided to stage a protest, the Federal Government was reported to have schedule to disburse 15.98BN out of 1.13trn as requested by the lecturers.
According to the figure divulged in a reported statement credited to The Nation newspaper by the minister of Labour Dr. Chris Ngige on Wednesday, 2nd of January 2019, he noted that the 15.89 billion naira is to offset the shortfall salary of lecturers in celebration of the new year eve.
Cheers and Jeers greet the development as the Minister with confidence insisted that the strike would be called off soon, though the attached statement by The Nation Newspaper showed that the Union is yet to confirm the said released fund not to talk of agreeing to call-off the strike.
Even though they may later call-off the strike soon as it was posited by the Minister of Labour, the 2019 election remains forty four days (44) days and the strike is yet to be called-off and this wages a tremendous setback to the academic stability of the Universities. If the strike is called-off by January what is the probability that students would resume 44 days to the general election?