The Academic Staff Union of Universities has called on well-meaning Nigerians to caution the Federal Government to honour its agreement with the union to forestall further industrial crisis in the nation’s tertiary education sector.
The union’s President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.
Recall that the union’s National Executive Committee had at the end of its meeting at the Federal University of Technical Akure in Ondo, on November 4, 2018, declared a ‘total, comprehensive and indefinite’ nationwide strike.
The strike, was however suspended on February 7, after series of negotiations between the parties and other concerned stakeholders.
But Ogunyemi told NAN on Sunday that “Government has not kept faith with our MOA signed on February 7.
He said: “What government ought to have done, they do not want to do any more. They have literally gone to sleep.
“For instance they had promised before the suspension of the strike, to set up visitation panel to our universities within two weeks and three months after government has not done anything in that regard.
“At least not to my knowledge that they had put any panel in place nor inaugurate any.
“By February 28 of this year, government had promised to pay the union, N25 billion part payment of outstanding arrears of the EARN academic allowances.
“Our renegotiation with Dr Wale Babalakin had promised to put us in a more cordial path with fair guidelines when we come back to the renegotiation table but now, there seem to be no change of attitude on the side of government.”
According to him, the union has a timeframe attached to every action, hence the current call for caution on the part of government.
He explained that government had told the union that the funds had been approved, but Ogunyemi said that there was a huge difference between approval of such funds and its implementation.
He said that three months after the said approval, the funds were yet to get to the union.
He said: “Our members have begun to express doubts about government’s promise to fulfill its pledge faithfully.
“And when this pressure begins to mount there is nothing the leadership can do because leadership must hearken to the voice of followers.
“The point is that we are not keen about disrupting the academic calendar. What we are doing is to express our worries and carry the public along.
“So, Nigerians must come out now and speak to government concerning all these things raised to maintain the current precarious industrial stability on our campuses.”
He said that though the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had assured the union that the payment would soon be done, but he expressed concern that time was of essence his members nationwide.