• JAC to ratify SSANU, NAAT, NASU indefinite strike
By Gabriel Dike, Magnus Eze and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, confirmed that it will honour invitation from the Federal Government to resume the suspended talks tomorrow on the on-going strike and its demands.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a telephone chat told Daily Sun that the union had received invitation for the meeting and will act accordingly.
Also, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) made up of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) will meet today, in Abuja, to ratify the strike approved by the various branches.
Prof Ogunyemi said: “Yes, we are in receipt of the invitation by government and will honour it.” He, however, declined to speak more on the issue.
Spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Oloowokere, had, in a statement in Abuja, on Saturday, disclosed that meeting with striking university teachers would resume immediately after the Sallah holidays.
He said the parley was in line with the request of Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities.
“In view of its determination to end every disruption in the academic calendar of universities, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senate Chris Ngige, wishes to inform all stakeholders and the general public that reconciliation with the university teachers will resume immediately after the Sallah break as requested by ASUU,” the statement read.
Those expected at tomorrow’s meeting, aside ASUU delegation, include Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, Chairman, National Income Salaries and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
Meanwhile, the National Public Relations Officer of SSANU, Mr. Abdussobur Salaam, confirmed that the JAC meeting earlier scheduled for last week will hold today.
Salaam also confirmed that results of the referendum conducted by SSANU, NAAT and NASU have been collated but refused to disclose the likely outcome.
He said: “The indication from the referendum is that our members voted for strike. JAC has the final say. I am not aware of any branches that opted out of the exercise.
“The Federal Government has not reached out to JAC since the news of our position was made public in the media. Hope government is not waiting for us to embark on strike before reaching out to the three unions.”
In a related development, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday kept to its promise when its members disrupted activities at the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja to demand immediate government action that would end the perennial industrial action in the university system. Workers, visitors and motorists were taken by surprise by the large number of aggrieved students who came out to register their dissatisfaction over the unending face off between the lecturers and federal government.
The main entrance into the ministry located at the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja, was shut for several hours by security officials to avert breakdown of law and order by the protesting students.
The strike by ASUU entered the third week even as the non academic staff unions are planning to down tools over similar issues. ASUU, SSANU, NAAT and NASU accused the federal government of non implementation of the 2009 signed agreements as well as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)