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Author Topic: ASUU Strike: Nigerian government’s ultimatum reaches as University of Abuja begins partial lectures  (Read 120 times)

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The government ordered the lecturers to
resume work on or before December 9.
The ultimatum issued by the federal
government to striking university lecturers
to resume work lapses on Monday with the
lecturers defiling the government’s directive.
Public university lecturers across Nigeria
have been on a nationwide strike since July
1, initially demanding the full
implementation of a 2009 agreement
between the lecturers (Academic Staff Union
of Universities, ASUU) and the federal
government.
Following months of negotiations between
the two sides, the lecturers met with
President Goodluck Jonathan in November
leading to the lecturers shifting ground
amidst some concessions from the federal
government.
Part of the agreement reached at the
meeting was the increased funding to
universities beginning from a N200 billion
intervention fund in 2013. ASUU wants the
money released to the universities within
two weeks while the federal government
through a presidential aide, Doyin Okupe,
presented evidence that the process of
making the payment to the universities had
begun through the Central Bank.
The lecturers also want a non-victimisation
clause included in the final agreement with
the president; as well as the commencement
of re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement in
2014, as discussed with the president.
However, the federal government, through
the Education Minister, Nyesom Wike, on
November 28 gave ASUU a week ultimatum
to call off the strike; else there would be
mass sack of the non-complying lecturers.
Though the ultimatum was to end on
December 4, the National Universities
Commission boss, Julius Okojie, announced
its extension to December 9.
“Government decided to shift the deadline
after it received notification of Prof. Festus
Iyayi’s funeral rites slated for between
December 5 and 7,” Mr. Okojie said.
ASUU has vowed to ignore the government’s
ultimatum with many lecturers describing it
as a ‘joke.’
“I see this whole thing as a joke and I dare
say it is not even worth my comments. We
just keep our fingers crossed and watch. I
still emphasise that such ultimatum is a
display of insensitivity and a huge joke,”
Oyelowo Oyewo, a Law Professor at the
University of Lagos said.
However, some university lecturers have
heeded the government’s directive as
directed by the university management.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited the University
of Abuja on Friday, few students were seen
on campus while most lecture halls
remained empty.
The Departments of Banking and Finance,
Asian Studies, Accounting, and Business
Administration are some of the departments
were few lectures held.
Samaja James, a student of the Department
of Banking and Finance, said she had
attended some lectures.
”At least we have received three lectures this
week, the first was on Monday, the second
on Wednesday, and the third Friday so we
are done for the week’,” she said.
A lecturer at the department, Ayeni Bola,
explained his reason for resuming lectures
despite the ASUU strike.
”We (ASUU) met with the President and
there were some conditions and so we on
our part have decided to respect the
President by resuming, now its left for the
President to keep to his words,
”The President cannot say we will not attend
to you till you resume and we on our own
part cannot say we will not resume till we
are attended to so we cannot continue like
this,” ‘he said.
Another student who attended lectures at
the Department of Asian Studies, Haruna
Mohammed, told PREMIUM TIMES that ASUU’s
actions are for its interest and not those of
students.
“I want to believe that ASUU does not have
the interest of the student at heart; that’s
why most of us decided to resume despite
the few of us who stayed back at home.
”We are the ones feeling it, not them, not
their kids. I mean most us have plans for the
future and staying at home is not helping
matters. That’s why we are here for the
lecturers that are ready to (lecture),” he said.
The government is expected to announce a
decision later today on its lapsed ultimatum.
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