The Bayero University Kano (BUK) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday condemned the Federal Government’s handling of its ongoing strike, vowing to prosecute the industrial action to a logical conclusion.
The union made its position known in a statement jointly signed by its chairperson Comrade Haruna Musa and secretary Comrade Kabiru Haruna Isa.
It said, “ASUU-BUK vehemently condemns the FG’s mishandling of the protracted industrial dispute that has kept Nigerian universities shut since February 14. As the strike enters the 7th month, the FG has continued to demonstrate insincerity and lack of commitment towards resolving the impasse.
“Therefore, the FG should be solely held responsible for unnecessarily prolonging the avoidable strike action. Our collective resolve to prosecute this patriotic and altruistic struggle to its logical conclusion remains unwavering.”
Read the union’s statement below:
Stop the Shenanigans, Respect Collective Bargaining
1. Recently, especially following the Minister of Education’s media briefing, the discursive arena is replete with false stories and narratives that are intended to misinform Nigerians about the state of our patriotic struggle to save Nigerian university system from imminent collapse. Compatriots, we find it necessary to update you on the state of our engagements with the Federal Government (FG) and, in so doing, counter the misinformation in the public space.
2. As you are aware, with no iota of doubt, that ASUU declared a rollover strike on the 14th of February, following the failure of the FG to implement the terms of the December 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) it freely singed with our Union. The terms of the MoA include: conclusion of renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement; funding for the revitalization of universities; deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS); payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); amendment of the Notional Universities Commission’s (NUC) Act to check the proliferation and underfunding of state universities; and payment of promotion arrears.
3. In 2017, the FG constituted a committee to renegotiate the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement under the chairmanship of Dr Wale Babalakin. After wasting three good years of fruitless and painstaking negotiation, Babalakin was replaced with Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril in December 2020. The Renegotiation Committee under the new Chairman produced and submitted a draft report to the FG in May, 2021. It took the FG nearly one year of pressure from ASUU to take a position on the report. To further cause unnecessary delay in the renegotiation, the FG reconstituted the Committee yet again in February 2022 and appointed Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs to head it.
4. After intensive negotiation, Professor Briggs’ Committee submitted its report to the FG in June 2022 for consideration. Unfortunately, the FG jettisoned the report and, instead, made a unilateral, paltry and insulting take-it-or-live-it award of N60,000 and N30,000 salary increase for Professors and academics on other cadres, respectively. We see this as a brazen disregard for the principle of collective bargaining, which has guided ASUU’s engagements with the FG since 1981, as stipulated in Boards and Industrial Council’s Decree No. 1 of (973, Trade Dispute Mt of 1976, ILO Conventions 49 (1948), 91 (1950) and 154 (1988) and recommendation 153 (1981), Udoji Commission Report of 1974, as well as Cookey Commission Report of 1981. Consequently, ASUU has rejected this miserly award.
5. More worrisomely, the Minister of Education has resorted to blatant disinformation and cheap blackmail in order to deflect attention away from the FG’s failure to resolve the contentious issues that led to the current strike action. In his media briefing held on 18th August 2022, the Minister mischievously misinformed Nigerians that all contentious issues have been resolved, except the payment of the six-month withheld salaries. We want to make it unequivocally clear that contrary to the Minister’s claim, NONE of the contending issues has been addressed by the FG. The claim was a ploy to reduce our struggle to save Nigerian university system to the issue of withheld salaries.
6. Government needs to be reminded that providing free and quality education at all levels is its responsibility as enshrined in Section 18 of the 1999 Constitution.
7. ASUU-BUK vehemently condemns the FG’s mishandling of the protracted industrial dispute that has kept Nigerian universities shut since February 14. As the strike enters the 7th month, the FG has continued to demonstrate insincerity and lack of commitment towards resolving the impasse. Therefore, the FG should be solely held responsible for unnecessarily prolonging the avoidable strike action.
8. Our collective resolve to prosecute this patriotic and altruistic struggle to its logical conclusion remains unwavering.
Comrade Haruna Musa
Comrade Kabiru Haruna Isa