The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday said that it would not be intimidated by the Federal Government’s directive to resume work on or before Dec. 4 without resolving the industrial dispute.
Mr Clement Chup, the Chairman of ASUU, the University of Abuja chapter, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that there was nothing like re-opening the universities or calling off the strike.
The Federal Government had on Thursday directed all Vice-Chancellors of the federal universities that were on strike to immediately re-open the universities for academic and allied activities.
The Federal Government also directed the universities’ Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors to ensure that lecturers who resumed for work were provided with the enabling environment for academic and allied activities.
The government, however, warned that any lecturer who failed to resume on or before Dec. 4, automatically ceased to be a member of staff of the institution.
It also directed the Vice-Chancellors directed to advertise vacancies (internal and external) in their institutions.
Some parents and students, who spoke with the NAN in Abuja, expressed mixed feelings concerning the Federal Government’s directive.
Mr Ekpontas Uwanna, a parent, said that it was improper for the Federal Government to order ASUU to call off its strike in such an abrupt manner, without reaching an agreement with the union.
“This is a civilised country and I think people have been trying to sympathise with the government over ASUU strike.
“’But with such pronouncement, I do not think that it is the right way that the Federal Government should handle this matter,’’ he added.
Another parent, Mrs Joy Amadi, said that it was a shame that the state of affairs of the country’s tertiary education sector was being handled in such a manner.
“We are not in the military era; this is democracy and any agreement entered into by the Federal Government, be it with anybody or association, must be kept.
“Issuing threat is not the option but with mutual understanding of both parties and patience, there will be peace and harmony in the sector,’’ she said.
Mr Dele Oluwadayo, also a parent, said that the strike had dragged on for too long, adding that parents and students were fed up with the industrial action.
“I think that the Federal Government and the Pro-Chancellors are doing the right thing by calling for the re-opening of the universities.
“But I want to say that the Federal government should not be hard on the lecturers.
“I think ASUU is fighting for a good cause but they should also be considerate,’’ he said.
However, a student, Mohammed Aliyu, urged ASUU to abide by the Federal Government’s directive.
“It is better for ASUU to work with the Federal Government’s terms and reference; we are tired of the strike,’’ he said.
Another student, Priscilla Ekoma, said that the Federal Government’s directive was not in order.
“Although it is not that I am happy that we are on strike, but it is very, very wrong for the Federal Government to order ASUU to resume work just like that.
“ASUU is making a case for all the universities in the country and an agreement should be reached, the crisis cannot be resolved via intimidation or threat,’’ Ekoma said.
NAN reports that all efforts to get the reaction of the ASUU National President, Dr Nasir Fagge, as at the time of filing this report proved abortive, as he did not pick the reporter’s calls. (NAN)
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