ASUU knocks Buhari for ordering minister to end varsity strikes in two weeks

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• Says ultimatum pointless without FG’s ‘strong commitment’
• ERC, NUP back NLC on proposed two-day protest

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to resolve the lingering strike by the four university-based unions without delay and report back to him within two weeks.

Sources privy to the development said Buhari gave the directive after he received briefings from the Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) concerned.

The sources revealed further that Buhari also directed Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to be part of the team that should immediately resolve the faceoff with the unions.

Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had proceeded on a one-month warning strike on February 14. Thereafter, other unions withdrew their services over the alleged inability of the Federal Government to meet their demands.

The three other unions are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
BUT in a reaction, ASUU said the Federal Government does not need two weeks to end the industrial action.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union is ready to call off the strike anytime there is a “strong commitment” by the government to sign and implement the renegotiated agreement is reached with the university lecturers.

He added: “ASUU has always had serious reservations about the claim of “conciliation” by someone who has taken sides in the dispute, or by an unabashed protagonist in the crisis such as the current Minister of Labour and Employment. It is antithetical to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions (98, 151 & 154) on collective bargaining.

“It is against the principle of natural justice and the doctrine of equality for Dr Ngige, who carries himself as if he has personal scores to settle with ASUU and shoots down the union everywhere it matters, to assume the role of conciliator.”

MEANWHILE, Education Rights Campaign (ERC) hailed the decision by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on a two-day national protest on July 26 and 27, 2022 to force the government to meet the demands of ASUU and related unions.

In a statement by its Deputy National Coordinator, Ogunjinmi Isaac, and National Mobilisation Officer, Adaramoye Michael Lenin, the group, yesterday, said the decision is a step in the right direction.

ERC urged the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to align with the position of the NLC and mobilise its members to jointly prosecute the two-day protest.

The body also called on students, student unions, radical student groups and civil society organisations to answer the call of the NLC by mobilising to join the protest.

Similarly, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) threw its weight behind the proposed two-day strike, pledging to mobilise its members in solidarity.

Speaking to newsmen in Awka, Anambra State, NUP Chairman (Anambra chapter), Comrade Dr Anthony Ugozor, said parents and guardians of affected students are pleased with the planned protest.

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