AS the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities enters the fourth month, the union has flayed alleged plans by the Federal Government to forcefully order the re-opening of the universities today, saying this will only complicate the situation.
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will meet the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday (today), apparently with a view to resolve the Federal Government-ASUU face-off that has left varsity gates shut since July 1.
But the union said it had got wind of Presidency’s plan to direct that universities be reopened, saying such directive without amicable resolution of the current strike would deepen the crisis.
Chairperson of the Uniport chapter of ASUU, Professor Anthonia Okerengwo, urged the Federal Government to toe the path of honour in its effort towards resolving the lingering strike.
His University of Benin counterpart, Dr Anthony Money-Emina, described as laughable, reports that President Goodluck Jonathan will order the union members to go back to work today.
Similarly, ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, through its Secretary, Dr Ayodeji Omole, said such a report would further dent the image of the government as anti-democratic, cautioning President Jonathan to allow a sleeping dog lie by implementing the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement which the Federal Government had already signed.
ASUU vowed that it would not be intimidated into going back to the classroom, “unless our demands are met by the Federal Government.”
ASUU Uniben said that the solution to the current industrial action embarked upon by members was for the Federal Government to come up with a clear agenda on how to implement the 2009 agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, entered with the union in 2012.
Describing as laughable, reports that government will order the union members to go back to work, ASUU urged government to shun “authoritarian approaches to resolving issues in dispute with the union.”
Money-Emina said, “The attention of our union has been drawn to news report in the media, alleging that the President will direct the re-opening of Nigerian universities with or without ASUU from Monday.”
Professor Okerengwo in a statement said: “Arm twisting has never worked as a dispute resolution strategy. It is unacceptable to the union that while the President has invited the union leadership for a dialogue, some overzealous assistants to the president are clandestinely working to jeopardize the process.
The surest and shortest route to industrial harmony in the university system and the fastest approach to revitalizing university education is the implementation of 2009 agreement and the 2012 MOU,” the union said.
UI-ASUU, while welcoming an invitation to ASUU for a meeting today, warned that it would be unacceptable to its members if government failed to come out with a clear agenda for implementing the 2009 agreement.
It said “The attention of our union is drawn to news reports in the media alleging that President Goodluck Jonathan will direct the re-opening of all Nigerian universities with or without ASUU.
“We wish to state that while the President had issued an invitation to the leaders of our union for dialogue, it will be unacceptable to our members if government fails to come out with a clear agenda for implementing the 2009 agreement.
“Authoritarian posturing has never solved and will not solve the impasse. We are calling on Mr President to tow the path of honour and respect the 2009 Agreement.”
It sounded a note of warning that “Any proposal not based on a clear acceptance of a framework for implementing the 2009 agreement will, instead, seek to impose a solution regarding the impasse, and will not be a solution to the present crisis.”
Omole said it was laughable that a government which had earlier claimed to have released N100billion has not, in actual fact released even a kobo.
He said ASUU as a body of intellectuals, which is ready to pursue the revatilization of public education in Nigeria will purse same to its logical conclusion even with the stoppage of salaries.
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