by ‘Jola Sotubo
The rift between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has deepened even as the FG accused the organization of fighting for its own selfish interests and not for the benefit of Nigerian students.
The government has accused the university body of not being honest and sincere about the real motive behind the almost 3-month old strike which has crippled academic activities in the country’s universities.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students Matters, Jude Imagwe, reportedly stated that the claim by the union that its action was to restore infrastructural decay in universities was nothing but a lie, noting that ASUU was fighting for allowances.
Comrade Imagwe was speaking in Abuja when he received some youth groups, who were on a visit to his office.
His words: “They initially told us that it was about infrastructure, but it is about allowances. N30b has been released for the payment of their accumulated allowances, and N100b earmarked for infrastructural development. It is important for the public to know that government did not say this is all that it will give, but government says go and start the payment with this amount and let us know the amount it will add.”
Meanwhile, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) will tomorrow join ASUU on strike as the union said it has mobilized its members across the country to embark on industrial action over alleged stoppage of their salaries for two months.
SSANU, in a letter, dated 27 September, 2013, and addressed to its branch chairmen in all the universities in the country, directed its members to stay away from work from tomorrow until the salaries are fully paid.
The President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke, said the strike will be total, while the General Secretary, who signed the letter directing members to stay at home from tomorrow, Comrade Promise Adewusi, said no member should go back to work until a counter directive was given.
Adewusi stated that the union took the decision following its letters to the vice-chancellors in universities, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Ministers of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu and Education, Nyesom Wike, as well as the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie.
In the meantime, the suspended strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) is to resume on Friday.
The union alleged insincerity and failure of the Federal Government to honour agreement entered with the union.
The union also passed a vote of no confidence on the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), alleging that the board has failed to meet the needs and demands of polytechnic education in the country.