by ‘Jola Sotubo
The battle between the Federal Government and the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has attained a new intensity following a 7-day ultimatum issued by the Presidency.
Some of the striking lecturers have remained adamant despite the obvious waning in the resolve of their members evidenced by the withdrawing of some universities from the strike.
The academic body has taken things even further by warning parents not to allow their wards resume in schools to avoid risking the lives of their children.
The Presidency, on its part accused ASUU leaders of treachery and warned the university lecturers not to dare the resolve of government to carry out its threat to sack them if they failed to resume.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike last Thursday gave the lecturers a seven-day ultimatum to resume from their six-month strike or risk being sacked. President Goodluck Jonathan, however, clarified, weekend, in Bayelsa that the Federal Government did not give the ultimatum, stating that it was given by the Committee of Vice Chancellors. ASUU meantime said no academic activities would resume until the Federal Government perfects and implements resolutions reached with the union.
Describing the threat by Federal Government as height of insensitivity, the academic union asked its members not to sign any register but to remain calm and stay resolute.On denial by President Goodluck Jonathan that he never issued any ultimatum to the union, the National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge and University of Ibadan chapter of the Union, ASUU said it was laughable.
Fagge said: “Comrades, can you see the unfolding drama? Now, Jonathan says they didn’t give ultimatum; that the Vice Chancellors did and Wike became their trumpet; But NUC’s ultimatum is by Federal Government to us to resume or get sacked. And Wike’s press address says “FG has directed, “NOT”VCs have directed”Be calm, stay resolute. By God, we are on course”
Also speaking in the same vein, UI ASUU chairman, Dr. Segun Ajiboye asked parents not to risk the precious lives of “our students by releasing them, saying no lecturer will teach them.
“Don’t risk the lives of your children, keep your children at home because ASUU will not teach. Soldiers and the police deployed by the Federal Government will not teach. Mr Wike can come and teach in university. It is a huge joke to sack professors. Our strike must not be in vain.
Our students must see the results. It is funny; we thought we are in a democracy. I assure Nigerians that we know what the law says about the strike. Our job is statute backed. We are not threatened. We do not trust the government. The record of the government is clear. This government is dishonouring agreements. Our members are resolved to pursue this to a logical conclusion”