Following the alleged inability of the Federal Government to fulfil its part of agreement signed with Academic Union of University (ASUU) in 2009, the union, on Thursday, began the process that may lead to nationwide industrial action anytime soon.
Daily Sun reliably gathered that the leadership of the ASUU has begun collation of signatures of members through referenda which would determine the type of strike (weeks, months or indefinite) that may commence few days from now if all things are equal.
Some of the prayers of the union which led to almost a year strike action in 2013 include but not limited to academic allowances, change of pension administrators, remittance of needs assessment funds, issue of staff and possible renegotiation of condition of service.
Speaking to this correspondent in his office shortly after his branch’s referendum, former Welfare Secretary, ASUU, Kaduna State University, Mallam Ahmad Buba urged the federal government to fulfil its part of the 2009 agreement quickly added that, going into another strike action now will further deteriorate the country educational system.
According to him, the union leaders had tried everything possible to help the government, but that has not yielded expected results. Hence the need to dust the suspended strike embarked upon just few years ago.
According to Buba, “The union has, over time revolving and unlike before, they now collect members’ view when it comes to critical issues like this. That means, the outcome of the referenda which is simultaneously going on across the country will determine whether the strike will be one week, two weeks, months or indefinite.
“Like I said, if members say we should go ahead so be it and if they said no so be it. We are not antagonising the government, but we are only demanding for what we know is our right. We have legal team and that means we are not doing any illegal thing.
“What we are saying is the 2009 agreement should be implemented. We are not asking for too much. We are saying pay us our allowances, move our pension from administrators currently handling it to Servicom, remit our need assessment funds, continue funding our staff schools among others.
“Let education gets more budget percentage because it is the bedrock of other developments. Let stop brain drain which is becoming daily occurrence in our educational system. When an Army General retires, he continue enjoying his last salary as pension while a Professor will retire and that will be the end. Its time to renegotiate all these details for our education not to suffer any setback again.
Commenting on government’s persistent crying of cash crunch he said, “it is becoming the tradition of government to say there is no money in its cover. But this is an agreement both parties willingly agreed on and it is not beyond what the government can do in the interest of young Nigerians and standard of education of the country”.
Asking him whether some universities that are not owing salaries and other allowances can ignore the strike if declared he posited that, “the issue of national strike is beyond individual university and that is while the referenda. Whatever ASUU is doing is in the interests of everybody including students, parents and university staff whether in federal or state universities”.