The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the federal government of Nigeria of declaring war on striking lecturers in public universities.
This disclosure was made known on Wednesday by the ASUU Chairman in the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dele Ashiru during a TV interview.
He stated that the decision by the government to stop the salary of the striking lecturers and thereby inflicting hunger and suffering on them is a declaration of war.
“Government declared war on our union, we are only responding. Six months or seven months down the line, our members are suffering the consequences of a strike caused by the government. If you deploy the weapon of hunger upon people that is a war,” he said during an interview with Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
Speaking on the move by the government to hold a meeting with Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors on September 6, 2022, over the lingering ASUU strike, Ashiru described it as unnecessary and a diversionary tactic.
The ASUU chairman further argued that the Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors are not the ones that have issues with the government, so the meeting is not needed but just another opportunity to waste funds and time.
He stataed that the planned meeting is “part of government’s diversionary tactics” and “another jamboree to waste government’s money.
“The Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors are not in dispute with the government. So, whatever that meeting is going to achieve is yet to be seen. What government ought to concentrate on doing is to negotiate with our union,” Ashiru said.
In reaction to the claims on Monday by the federal government through the Director of Press and Public Relations, in the Federal Ministry of Education, Bem Goong that 80% of ASUU demands have been met, Ashiru described the claim as false.
“Not one item (has been met), even the one that requires no money. For example, we desire that a government White Paper on Visitation Panel be released. Up till now, more than two years, (Minister of Education), Adamu Adamu cannot release White Paper.”
“Nimi Briggs’ Committee recommended an increase in salaries for our members. It is about how the government can fund public universities and also suggested to the government in line with the tripartite agreement that IPPIS be (suspended), because it violates the university autonomy, and then UTAS be deployed,” he said.
The ASUU Chairman, however called on the government to take action and resolve the lingering strike rather than setting up committees over and over again.
“Government has not demonstrated enough good fate to enable our union to reciprocate and there is also the principle of reciprocity.
“What we think the government should do is to take immediate steps to resolve this crisis, not setting up committees,” he said.