THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it will begin a one-week warning strike tomorrow to protest the Federal Government’s failure to implement their 2009 agreement.
The development is coming after months of industrial peace in the nation’s universities.
ASUU accused the government of turning the establishment of universities into constituency projects to score political points, saying the union was opposed to such establishment.
Addressing a news conference after its meeting in Abuja, ASUU’s National President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said despite efforts to get the government to respect the agreement, the government failed, causing anxiety among lecturers in the universities.
He listed some areas of disagreement as payment of a fraction of workers’ entitlement and denial of their entitlement in respect of earned academic allowance amounting to N128 billion, funding of universities for revitalisation, and refusal to register the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company by the National Pension Commission (NPC).
Others are introduction of Treasury Single Account, which the union said affects universities’ autonomy, reduced budgetary allocation to education and refusal by government to re-negotiate the 2009 agreement, due since 2012.
He said: “Our members are worried that six months after meeting the minister of Education and a series of letters on the need to respect the 2009 agreement and 2013 MoU, there has been no tangible results.
“This failure puts ASUU leadership in difficulty in responding to enquiries from members about our engagement with the Federal Government.
“Following nationwide consultations, the National Executive Council rose from its meeting on Sunday, November 13, with a resolution to begin a one-week warning strike, from Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
“The nationwide strike is total and comprehensive. While it last, there shall be no teaching, no examination and no attendance of statutory meeting of any kind.
“We use this opportunity to call on education loving Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to prevail on the government to address ASUU’s demands. For us, we shall not surrender until the university system is repositioned.”
On establishment of more universities, he said: “We are not against democratising university education by providing more opportunities. But we also believe that if government followed the path which we agreed on, universities will not be made constituency projects as we are seeing.
“When you say every state must have a university without doing your homework and every governor thinks a university must be established in his constituency, it means we are not paying attention to quality, but using such to make a political point.
“That is what we are against. In other places, what they do is to expand facilities, open space for more students, improve laboratories, library and offices. We are not seeing such happening here.”
Prof. Ogunyomi said the union and Nigerians have not seen any relief in terms of the change promised by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.