By Gabriel Dike
A crucial National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is currently on-going to decide offers made by the Federal Government team last week when it met with striking union leaders.
Ahead of the NEC meeting, the various ASUU zones met to also to consider the offers as well as inputs from the various branches for presentation to at NEC.
ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike on Monday, August 14 accusing the Federal Government of failure to redeem the terms of agreement signed in 2009 and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) endorsed by both parties in 2012.
One of the zonal coordinators of ASUU told our Correspondent that NEC started with the meeting of principal officers’ first and later chairmen from various branches which will aggregate the outcome of their positions on the offered made by the federal government.
“I must state that the offer from the federal government is a far cry from our members expectations. Let us see what comes out of this emergency NEC meeting. Many of our members are not happy with the way government is handling our demands. It is up to NEC to take a position on the on-going strike. Our members are prepared for a long strike but it depends on the government, the coordinator explained.
He debunked the statement credited to the education minister that ASUU will call off the strike this week stating ‘’we didn’t promise the minister anything. We told the government team that we are going to consult with our members on what government has offered.
On what is the likely outcome of NEC meeting, he explained that the situation is 50-50 noting that members wants to see concrete evidence that government is serious about the demands. He said the outcome of NEC will be known on Sunday.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, after a meeting with ASUU leadership promised the nation that the strike would end within the next one week, since all mechanisms were in place to resolve the issue in contention.
Adamu in another statement issued after the meeting said: “I must confess government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain, even though we are unhappy that ASUU went on this strike without following due process and giving us good notice. We realised that we promised something and we didn’t fulfil it.
“There is the issue of Earned Allowances and due to some miscommunication what was promised could not be done, assuring that it would be done soon and Government would conduct a forensic audit of the 30billion Naira released in 2010. Others include the registration for Nigerian Universities
Pension Commission, (NUPENCO) Staff School, the request that universities be allowed to stay off the Treasury Single Account (TSA), among others.”
Meanwhile, the two weeks old strike by ASUU has not only crippled academic activities on campuses but also commercial activities. A visit to University of Lagos and Lagos State University revealed that traders such food vendors, banks, transporters, bookshops and others who provide services to both students and lecturers are feeling the heat of the industrial action with low patronage.
The two campuses like others nationwide were like a ghost town, the students’ hostels, classrooms and the lecturers’ offices have been deserted as only few non academic staff who are also planning to down tools were seen moving around. The Sunnews report.