Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nsukka Zone has accused federal government officials of entertaining the public with intentional lies following their inability to reach an agreement and resolve issues raised in the grievances by the union who are currently on industrial action since seven months ago.
Dr. Igbana Ajir, the zonal coordinator ASUU-Nsukka Zone made the acquisition
on Friday in Nsukka during a press briefing shortly after their zonal meeting held at University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
Some universities under ASUU Nsukks Zone includes; Benue State university (BSU), Enugu state University of Science and Technology (ESUT) Federal university, Lokoja, Kogi state university, Anyigba .
University of Nigeria Nsukka and federal university of Agriculture Makurdi.
Ajir maintained that the main items in the current grievances are funding for revitalization of public universities, Earned Academic Allowances, proliferation and poor funding of state universities, as well as government failure to implement the 2009 Federal Government and ASUU agreement and the 2013 memorandum of understanding which was directed towards saving public universities.
According to him, “this press briefing was called to intimate members of the press and the general public of the deliberate deceit, frustration, and the ineptitude of government officials who had been frustrating genuine steps by ASUU to forestall the total collapse of public universities.
“since the declaration of the strike in March 2020 the negotiations with the Union were ignored until when covid-19 pandemic started tearing downwards in Nigeria.
“it is sad to note that even at that time of lockdown when government chose to ignore the union, other engagement of the government continued unabated, including political rallies and the election.
“it is also sad to note that even of late when the government chose to invite the union for meetings, it has been with a deliberate effort to keep her busy with her busy without substantial offers.
“Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment has taken it as a leisure to entertain members of the public with intentional lies and gross demonstration of ignorance in labour best practice.
“Ngige exhibits disrespect for Nigeria academics and assume the position of the personal assistant to the Federal Minister of Finance, the Accountant General of the Federation and Minister of Education even as he is expected to be a mediator in the bergaining engagement between ASUU and FG officials, rather he has openly deceived the Nigerian public that the Federal Government and the Union has reached an agreement to end the current industrial action.
“These are false, as the issue in contention have largely remained unresolved,” he said.
Ajir, however assured that ASUU strike was not targeted at students or government, but a holistic efforts to revitalize, sustain and improve on the quality and standard of education in public universities in the country.
On the alleged attempt to use military to conduct exam by Prof Charles Eze, the Vice chancellor of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) while the strike is still ongoing, the union condemned it.
“The attempt to use military to force students to write 2019/2020 first semester examination in ESUT is totally unacceptable and condemnable.
“This militarization is not only barbaric but negates the civil university traditions.
“The Union will not hesitate to deploy relevant instruments to sanction ESUT if the management continued to pressure and deny our members their salary for opposing
the uncivil act,” he said.
It would be recalled that ASUU had on March 9 2020 declared a warning strike after their National Executive Council meeting at ESUT which was rolled over to a full-scale total strike action on 23 March 2020.