By Opeyemi Babalola
Students of the University of Lagos expressed sadness and felt dejected as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, today announced the extension of the ongoing strike by twelve weeks.
The earlier eight weeks warning strike which ended today will now continue till August.
ASUU’s decision was taken at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) held at ASUU Secretariat in Abuja.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union resolved to give the government enough time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
“After extensive deliberations, noting Government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities and speedily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the additional eight-week roll–over strike period declared on 14th March 2022, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for twelve weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.”
“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, 9th May 2022. The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held an emergency meeting on Sunday, 8th May 2022 at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja,” he said.
Meanwhile, students of UNILAG, at a peaceful protest held in front of the institution, urged the Federal Government to resolve the impasse with academic union and allow students return to classes for learning.
The aggrieved students who chanted various forms of solidarity songs also carried placards with various inscriptions calling for an end to the ASUU strike.
Some of the placards read: “FG stop playing politics with our educational system’, ‘gentility no be stupidity, enough is enough’, ‘if you have money for election form, you can fund education’, ‘education is a right, open our schools now’.
Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved students, Femi Adeyeye, said the recent declaration by ASUU to extend the strike by three months showed that the government has zero regards for education in the country.
He, however, urged the government to quickly call ASUU to negotiation table and resolve the extended strike.
“They should call all the university unions that are on strike and this time around, Federal Government should be sincere. You cannot continue to say there is no money and on contrary, we are seeing the high cost of government,” he said.
Another student identified as Emmanuel Ubechukwu, a 400-level Finance student, expressed his concern to return back to the classroom, saying age is not on his side any longer.
“We are here out of a genuine desire to tell the government that we are tired of staying at home. We are not sponsored by any interest group or politicians. Our coming here is out of a genuine desire to return to classrooms,” he explained.
He appealed to the Federal Government to parley with the Academic unions so that both parties can come to a truce and end the strike.
He stated that only the presidential hopeful that has issue-based agenda will have the backing of the youths in the upcoming general elections.
The academic union had on February 14, shut down learning and academic activities in the universities over the Federal Government’s refusal to honour its agreement with ASUU.
The union is demanding that the non-implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with the government in December 2020 on funding for revitalisation of public universities (both Federal and States), should be implemented including the failed renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement.
Other outstanding issues are earned academic allowances, state universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, non-remittance of third-party deductions and rejection of UTAS that ASUU technical team developed to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).