Striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have accused the Federal Government of using orchestrated propaganda to compel their union to end the current industrial action.
The leadership of the union made the allegation on Sunday in Abuja, where it also reiterated that its indefinite strike started on July 2, still stands, irrespective of the move by government to discredit their union.
ASUU distanced itself from a purported meeting at the State House, Abuja, with Vice President Namadi Sambo, where it was claimed that government further shifted grounds on the demands of the union.
Last week, an online news medium had reported that there was an appreciable progress in the ongoing negotiations between ASUU and the Vice President, particularly on the controversial earned allowances for the striking lecturers.
In the report, government was alleged to have further shifted ground on the demands made by the union, by agreeing to add N10 billion to the N30 billion initially provided for the settlement of earned allowances, making it N40 billion.
It was also reported that government had shored up the N100 billion meant for infrastructure to N150 billion with a pledge to periodically inject more funds into the system in line with the Needs Implementation Committee chaired by Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan.
Chairman of ASUU, University of Abuja chapter, Clement Chup, however, told our reporter that there was such meeting.
“In fact, I read the mischievous report online myself, but I am telling you authoritatively that there was no such meeting.
“Government is only trying to use propaganda and cheap blackmail to make us call off this strike, but it will not work.
“Our strike is still very much on course, in fact ASUU will soon release a position paper on these developments, we are used to this kind of blackmail from government,” Chup said.
Only recently, government began the implementation of no work, no pay policy against the striking lecturers.
ASUU’s counterpart in the technical education sector, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), also resumed their earlier suspended strike last week.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Ambrose Alli University chapter of ASUU, Fred Esumeh, has said the union still enjoys public sympathy.
He attributed the strike to failed leadership on the part of government, saying over 53 letters urging government to implement the 2009 agreement were transmitted prior to the strike.
“As I keep saying, this strike is a product of failed leadership on the part of government; this is because we had series of dialogue to reach an agreement.
“An agreement reached since 2009 that has not been implemented up till now, obviously it is a product of failed leadership, before this time that we commenced strike, there have been over 53 letters, not to talk of several meetings with House and Senate committees on education to intervene.
“I do not think ASUU is loosing public sympathy, because what we see in our electronic media and perhaps few print media is sponsored protest.
“Like the one organised by the market women, that one is laughable, you could see that it is government sponsored.
“Then of course the guy that parades himself as NANS President, Yinka Gbadebo, a diploma student in OAU, who was rusticated from Ekiti State University.
“A diploma student cannot even contest to be an SUG president and to be a NANS president, you must be from SUG presidents all over the federation, so we know these people are sponsored by government,” Esumeh said.
Also from Ado-Ekiti came report that ASUU is insisting that the no-work-no-pay rule by the Federal Government against its members would not deter it from fighting the ongoing battle to a logical conclusion.
The union said no amount of pressure will dissuade it from ensuring that government implements the agreements.
This was contained in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Sunday by ASUU, Ilorin Zone, and signed by its Coordinator, Ayan Adeleke.
It said owners of private universities, who have allegedly been advising the President to whip ASUU into line through no-work-no-pay rule, are doing it for selfish motives.