The Academic Staff Union of Universities is now in its seven-month-old strike, and the federal government has reportedly done everything in its power to put an end to it, according to Minister of Education Adamu Adamu (ASUU).
At a recent gathering of the provosts and vice chancellors of federal universities at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Abuja, he made this statement to reporters.
According to Adamu: “In all, we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, the government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement.
“Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions.
“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions.
“I gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, figures, and sincerity.
“For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.
“To be frank with all the unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”.
“In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”
ASUU had, on February 14, embarked on a one-month warning strike. The strike has kept public universities closed, with students and Nigerians confused as to when it will all end. The union also has not been paid within the said period.
As part of their demands, the union is holding out for money to revitalise public universities, the payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and Earned Allowances (EA), reimbursement of salary shortages, and the establishment of Visitation Panels.
Others include the revision of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, the use of UTAS as a platform for university lecturers to receive payment, the payment of withheld salary, and the non-remittance of check-off dues.