Every time the Academic Staff Union of Universities and Federal Government meet to negotiate over the strike, the hopes of Nigeria universities’ students are raised yet each meeting is always futile as the two unions fail to reach an agreement at the end. The lingering strike action of ASUU has take its toll on the academic progress of many students. The Academic Staff Union of Universities and Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities have said the Federal Government did not reach a strong agreement with them that can lead to calling off the industrial actions.
ASUU started its strike on February 14,2022 and JAC commenced its industrial action on April 14,2022.
The unions embarked on industrial actions, demanding improved welfare packages, better working conditions and implementation of various labour agreements signed with the Federal Government between 2009 and 2020.
Last week, The national leaders of ASUU and JAC of SSANU and NASU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke and Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, the Federal Government, some stakeholders in the education sector and religious leaders had a meeting but the leaders of ASUU and SSANU has made it known that no strong agreements were reached. However, an appeal was made by the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council to ASUU, to suspend the strike while negotiations continue.
Last weekend, The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, was positive and assured Nigerian students that the Federal Government has reached some agreements with ASUU and the last meeting was fruitful. Osodeke has debunked Nigige’s claim, and said that Ngige’s statement about the union calling off the strike was a mere political statement. He explained that the union desires that the Federal Government acts and fulfil their promises which was made in December 2020 but have not been fulfilled till now.
It is evident that these unions demand actions rather than promises and appeals but the Federal government has shown no readiness to act and meet the union’s demands. The lingering strike action has spurred more protests from students who are still showing their grievances due to the delay caused by the strike.
Furthermore, the JAC leader of SSANU and NASU, Ibrahim added that the major progress he could point at during the meeting was the ordering of the National Information Technology Development Agency, by the presidency who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, to subject the three payment solutions; Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system , University Transparency and Accountability Solution and University Peculiar Payroll Payment System, to integrity test and submit in three weeks.
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