. Continues Blocking Highways  Over Strike 

Ibraheem Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union University has been on strike for the past 7 months over unresolved issues and  failed promises from the Federal Government.

They are seeking improved welfare , revitalization of public universities , salary payment for the period of the strike, academy autonomy and other demands

Two weeks ago ,  a Nation Executive Council meeting was held in Abuja where ASUU came to the conclusion that the strike will go on indefinitely until all their demands are met .
The Federal Government however claims that they have  met the majority of the demands of the union but described some requests as unreasonable  , declaring a ‘no work no pay ‘ policy .
The National Association of Nigeria Students who were firmly behind the decision of ASUU at the commencement of the strike action  are  beginning to have a rethink .
The former  President of NANS , Sunday Asefon ,  disclosed that the most recent demands of ASUU are unreasonable at best and  narrowed-interested at worst .
He said the lecturers have clearly not put students who are the biggest losers of the situation into consideration , further adding that the lecturers had no right to ask for payment for services they did not render.

“However, we condemn in totality, the insistence of ASUU on the payment of a six-month arrears salary for the entire period of the strike before they can call off the strike,” he said.

“This demand is not only insensitive; it is also selfish, inconsiderate, and uncharitable.

“The six months are periods of no work. As much as we encourage the government to pay their arrears irrespective, it is unfair to base the resumption of academic activities on full payment of the arrears.

NANS pointed out that students have been suspended and rusticated in the past for making certain basic demands from the university officials.

They’ve called on  ASUU to call off the strike as it is no longer justified and necessary.

They’ve also threatened to occupy major highways across the nation in protest of the detestable situation  .

Gbongan-Ibadan expressway was blocked by a section of NANS last Thursday while the Murtala Muhammed International Airport was also blocked by angry students on Monday .

The new NANS leadership headed by Umar Lawal  have however said they do not support the no work no pay policy instituted by the Federal  Government , calling on FG to fund the education sector .

They’ve also held meetings with the ASUU leadership over the situation and pleaded with them to suspend the strike in the interest of the students.

 Mr Afeez Akinteye, the National Vice-President, NANS External Affairs, said: “Our demand is not new; it is for the government to end the ASUU strike now.

 Mr Elvis Ekundina, the NANS Deputy Senate President, said that students would continue to block all the federal roads until the government resolved the issues with ASUU.

Other factions of NANS have also threatened decisive action against ASUU if the strike isn’t called off soon.

It is also worthy of mention that some university based unions who also suspended their activities as a result of unresolved issues with the federal government, nearly similar with the ASUU’s demands, have suspended their own strikes after entering into agreements with the government.

The three unions that have decided to resume work are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT.

Some lecturers have also called on ASUU to suspend the strike in the interest of everyone .

The Federal government has also filed a suit against ASUU in regards to the ongoing strike .

The government’s application is seeking an order to restrain ASUU from continuing with its ongoing strike “pending the hearing and determination of substantive suit.”
The case is still in court at this moment .

 The government wants the court to determine the validity of the strike. It also wants the court to determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments for the period they have been on strike.

“It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing,” a statement from the Ministry of Labour said recently.

 It is beyond time for all affected parties to get in a room and make the best decision for everyone, most especially in the interest of the students who are the puns in the fight of the titans. 

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