Members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) have threatened to down tools nationwide in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for close to three months.
NUT President, Michael Olukoya, handed down the threat in Abuja on Thursday on behalf of the union members, although he gave no clue on the date for the strike.
The NUT threat is coming just as lecturers at the Benue State University (BSU) called the bluff of the state Governor, Gabriel Suswam, who vowed to reopen the university if they (dons) failed to back out of the ongoing strike by ASUU.
The BSU chapter of the ASUU warned the Governor that it would not succumb to arm-twisting tactics to call off the sympathy strike.
Reasons for the NUT threatThe NUT president, while expressing solidarity with the ASUU, noted that Federal Government’s lukewarm attitude to accede to the lecturers’ demands was unjust and unfair.
According to Olukoya, ASUU should not bulge in the face of intimidation by the Federal Government, adding that NUT stands solidly behind them in their struggle.
“The NUT will not hesitate to solidarise with ASUU if the Federal Government fails to honour the existing agreement reached with them in 2009.
“This constant posture of government not to honour agreements with various unions poses great threat to real development of the education sector. It also negates government’s frequent talks of commitment to developing the education sector.
“We see the current struggle of ASUU as truly nationalistic, patriotic and self sacrificing, we commend our university teachers for remaining solid and immovable in the face of all threats.
“May we call on the Federal Government to demonstrate responsiveness and similar patriotism by acceding to the demand of ASUU, which we consider reasonable, just and fair.
...criticizes governments of Kogi, Benue and Cross river
Olukoya also castigated the governments of Kogi, Benue and Cross River states over their refusal to implement the minimum wage and 27.5 per cent Teachers Professional Enhanced Allowance for teachers in their states.
He solicited the intervention of the National Assembly to call the affected state governments to order.
And rising from its congress on Thursday in Makurdi, the BSU ASUU chapter Chairman, David Ikoni, who described Suswam’s threat to forcefully reopen the BSU as “mere political propaganda to blackmail lecturers”, vowed that the union would continue with the strike.
While noting that the BSU executive of ASUU lacked the power to suspend the ongoing strike, he said only the National Executive Council of ASUU has the powers to call it off.
“The strike embarked upon by BSU ASUU is a national strike and not a local one. The branch exco has no power to suspend the strike.
“We are a union and we have modalities which has to be followed logically. The NEC of ASUU called this strike and it is only when they ask us to call it off that we will do so.”
Ikoni warned that ASUU would not succumb to any blackmail, threat or intimidation by the Governor to call off the strike.
Ibadan Zone reaffirm stand, as SSANU warns FG on impending strikeThe Ibadan zone of ASUU also in a statement on Thursday announced the continuation of strike.
In the statement issued and signed on behalf of member institutions in the zone comprising Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun states, Acting Zonal Coordinator, Karo Ogbinaka, stated that the Ibadan zone of the union remains committed to the faithful implementation of the 2009 agreement it reached with the Federal Government.
Also on Thursday, members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) gave the Federal Government an ultimatum to join the ongoing strike by ASUU from Monday over non-payment of their August salary by government.
SSANU’s leadership has written letters to Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, Vice Chancellors of some federal universities, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, Supervisory Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Julius Okojie, on the union’s demand and its next line of action.
The notice of strike was made public by SSANU’s General Secretary, Promise Adewusi, on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the union had already given directive to its members to mobilise for the strike, adding that it has become imperative for them in the face of government refusal to pay their outstanding August salary.
Source: Daily Independent