Gabriel Dike, Lagos
The national leadership of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has directed lecturers nationwide not to engage in online teaching of students.
Several universities after the nationwide lockdown brought to the coronavirus pandemic resorted to online teaching of students, with the Minister of Education in April directing public tertiary institutions to commence online lectures.
With the nationwide strike by university lecturers entering the 12th week, the Federal Government had attempted to engage ASUU via online due to COVID-19 lockdown; the union, however, rejected the idea by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, insisting on direct negotiations.
In a memo to members, ASUU National President Prof Biodun Ogunyemi asked lecturers not to be involved in the online teaching of students, saying that without a university’s senate’s approval, vice-chancellors have no power to change the mode of lecture delivery.
‘Therefore, do not obey any vice-chancellor’s call for online teaching under whatever guise. It is a blatant violation of the university laws. It is in the interest of our universities, our students and our nation to resist any attempt to undermine the ongoing struggle,’ Ogunyemi explained.
He said the current struggle to get the Federal Government to address issues of revitalisation funds, visitation to universities, the proliferation of state universities and issues of governance, and conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement which is outstanding in the February 7th, 2019 Memorandum of Action (MoA), led to the current strike which has entered its 12th week.
The ASUU president warned chairpersons and other exco members not to attend or respond to invitations to meetings on matters affecting the union without clearance with their Zonal Coordinators.
He further added that no state university branch of the union shall meet with its visitor without the permission of the National Strike Coordinator Committee (NSCC) through the ASUU President.
Prof Ogunyemi revealed that against all odds, ASUU members and their families have remained resolute, stating that ‘this is an expression of their commitment to the union’s patriotic struggle to rescue Nigeria’s education system. NSCC commends this act of patriotism.’
‘Our collective resolve is beginning to yield some positive results. However, we are still far from achieving our goals. As the saying goes, there are still many rivers to cross! Our patriotic convictions should carry us through, till victory.
‘In strike Bulletin No 7, it was stated that “We shall ensure that not a kobo owed to, or unjustly taken from, any ASUU member is lost to IPPIS” and stressed that no member should resort to self-help. Individual members should not go to the bursary or university administration on any of these and related issues without clearance with the branch leadership. The national leadership is working with the branches to ensure that issues related to forceful migration to IPPIS as well as amputated and outstanding salaries are speedily resolved.
‘Following the colossal failure of IPPIS deployment in processing the salaries of academic staff, the IPPIS zealots are now making desperate moves to justify the deliberate distortions made to the salaries of members. This is totally unacceptable.’
He discovered that the NSCC has uncovered plots by IPPIS and agents of the government to use forms for the National Housing Fund (NHF) to commence another pressure campaign to forcefully enrol members of ASUU in the IPPIS. The president asked members not fill any form unless the NSCC so directs.