By Gabriel Dike and Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may commence an indefinite strike this week over government failure to address its demands.
Daily Sun learnt that ahead of the likely indefinite strike, an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting was held at ASUU Secretariat in Abuja, yesterday.
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The NEC meeting had in attendance branch chairmen and principal officers of the union and was convened to take a stance on the rollover strike that would end today.
It was gathered that the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, would after the NEC address the media on decisions reached.
However, a source at the meeting said majority of the participants were in support of an indefinite strike citing their anger and frustrations with government’s approach to resolving the dispute.
“From all indications, it is very likely that NEC will approve an indefinite and comprehensive strike in public universities because the Federal Government has not offered anything on the negotiation table. Overwhelming members of NEC and branches are in support of indefinite strike. The crucial meeting is still ongoing but the indication points to total and comprehensive strike,” said the source.
ASUU had declared four weeks total and comprehensive roll-over strike at the end of its NEC meeting at the University of Lagos from 12th to 13th, February 2022. On March 14, it rolled over the industrial strike to two months.
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At the last meeting with the Federal government negotiation team led by Prof. Nimi Briggs, ASUU officials had worked out. Daily Sun, however, learnt that both parties would meet next week over the issues.
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ASUU’s demands include the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with government in December 2020 on funding of public universities (both federal and states), renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU agreement and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Other outstanding issues are earned academic allowances; state universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, non-remittance of third-party deductions and rejection of UTAS that ASUU technical team developed to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Meanwhile, the Kogi State chapter of the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) has asked the Federal Government to act quickly to end the lingering industrial action embarked upon by ASUU o avoid a repeat of the endSARS protests as the students are running out of patience
The union lashed President Muhammadu Buhari for his inability to resolve the crisis, saying if the students are allowed to vent their anger, it would be worse than 2020 endSARS protests which claimed many lives.
TUC chairman, Ranti Ojo said in Lokoja that President Buhari’s body language regarding the strike showed that his administration has no plan for the future of Nigerian youths.
He maintained that the present administration has failed Nigerians, adding that things have fallen apart and the government was no longer in control of the country.
According to him, the ASUU strike has led to increase in crime rate and immorality in the society, adding that many students have become so idle that they fall prey to any crime
The TUC chairman, however, advisedf the Federal Government to do something urgently to avert any break down of law and order across the country, stressing that, a repeat of the #Endsars protest may likely reoccur as students are already running out of patience with their leaders.