ASUU rejects Buhari’s end to strike call
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday described as “sad,” President Muhammadu Buhari’s “enough is enough” comment on its ongoing strike.
ASUU recalled the number of times the Federal Government had breached agreements with it, saying it should be the one saying “enough is enough.”
The union reiterated that it was ready to call off the strike if the government okays its two main demands: accept the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and the renegotiated 2009 pact.
It advised the President to leave a legacy for himself by doing the “needful” to end the ASUU- government face-off.
Buhari had on Monday urged the university teachers who have been on strike since February 14 to return to their classrooms in the interest of “our students and the country.”
He spoke when he received some governors, lawmakers and other dignitaries paid him Sallah visit at his country home in Daura, Katsina State.
But ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke told The Nation yesterday, that it was sad that almost a month after the union leadership concluded negotiations with the Nimi Briggs – led committee , the government had yet to get back to it.
Osodeke said it was the same outcome last year when the union had a pact with the Prof Munzali Jubril- led committee on the condition of service for university teachers.
He lamented that the government failed to honour the agreement reached in May 2021.
He said: “We have given our conditions for returning to the classrooms. They (government) set up a committee to negotiate with us and when they (committee ) came, we asked them: ‘do you have the mandate of the government to negotiate?’ And they said ‘yes’.
“We asked them: ‘does it mean that whatever we agree with will be accepted by the government? and they said ‘yes.’
“We started negotiations and we finished on the 16th of June 2022. They (committee) said they were going back to show their principal and get permission to sign. We have been waiting till now.
“It is we who should be saying enough is enough. They did that in 2021; it took one year to come back and they are doing it again.
“It is we who should be saying enough is enough. For us, we believe that is not what the President said. We want to confirm it. But if that is exactly what he said then it is so sad.
“We have told the country that any day that they (government) agree to sign and agree on a new salary payment system (UTAS) we will call off the strike immediately.
“Let him (Buhari) do the needful and let the children go back to school not saying enough is enough. He should put our universities right; that should be his legacy.
“He should go back saying that my legacy is to restore the dignity of the Nigerian university system which we have lost.
“It is the Nigerian people who elected them that should be saying enough is enough. They didn’t elect themselves.
“They were put in government by the average Nigerians whose children have been suffering today but their own children are abroad enjoying themselves.
“They should listen to those who elected them and Nigerian people are saying enough is enough; the government should respond to ASUU’s demands.”
ASUU called out its members on a one-month strike on February 14, 2022, over the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with the government and the insistence of the government on the adoption of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS) as a payment platform for all federal workers.
ASUU proposed UTAS as an alternative platform for the payment of its members’ salaries following discrepancies highlighted in the use of IPPIS.