The Academic Staff Union of Universities has asked Nigerians to disregard the claims of the Federal Government that it had met the demands of the union.
The ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan, Prof. Akinwole Ayoola, said on Monday that the Federal Government’s claims were lies.
The union stated that all its chapters that started the over six-month-old strike were still part of the ongoing action and were resolute to get what public universities needed from the government to survive and compete globally.
The union also said that lecturers in Nigerian public universities had been using their blood to run public universities and sustaining it saying that the union will not sacrifice her members’ welfare and will resist any effort to turn intellectuals to slaves of irresponsible leadership.
He said, “Nigerians should disregard the lies of the Federal Government. The Federal Government is far from meeting any of the union’s seven demands.
“The union gave 14-month strike notice to Federal Government before commencing the strike in 2022. Even the effort of the Nigerian Inter-Religious council in 2021 yielded no results before the union was forced to declare the strike on February 14, 2022.
“We waited for 14 months from December 2020 to February 2022 before declaring this strike. I am saying 14 months’ notice, 14months of engagements and the Nigeria Inter-Religious council intervened in 2021 when we would have declared the strike. We gave them one month with no result. Heroes are gone before they are appreciated but our union will not die. We will not die. We are going to be alive to see this struggle through.”
Akinwole disclosed that the N1.1trillion naira for revatilisation of universities was not for lecturers in public universities. He added the amount was arrived at by Federal government through her NEEDS Assessment report on the level of decay in Nigerian public universities.
Ayoola who thanked ASUU members for sacrificing and remaining resolute to reposition public varsity education in Nigeria added that irresponsible leadership is the reason for strikes in Nigeria.
The ASUU chair hinted that only strikes had forced government to spend money on her universities in the last 25 years.
Ayoola said, “If ASUU does not go on this struggle, there will be no university for new people to attend. In the last 25 years, Federal Government will not spend money on their university unless ASUU goes on strike. Does that show they are responsible?
“I am also a parent and my children are home with me. Most lecturers have to spend their money on their students’ projects for some students to graduate. I could give you the numbers of some of my students who can tell you how much I have had to support their projects.
“Lecturers retain Nigerian public universities with their blood. But it is right for Nigerians to say they should die on the job. I am saying they are owing us over eight years of verified earned academic allowances. Is it ASUU only that is on strike?
“Some sectors (research institutes) of the nation have been on strike for 13months and government has been paying their salaries. Is it an offence to become lecturers in Nigerian universities? What led to the strike? It is non-responsiveness of government that led to the strike.”
Ayoola who noted that Federal Government is not talking about the over eight years earned academic allowances owed lecturers in public universities.
He noted that the government lied to the union severally and that the Buhari government instead of paying N220 billion for meant for 2014 revitalization fund only paid N50 billion to over 50 universities in the last seven years.
He said government has to pay the balance of N170 billion to university management.