UMUAHIA – The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has blamed chairman of universities’ NEEDS Assessment Committee and governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam, for the lingering strike by the union.
According to the union, the governor and his committee did not advise the Federal Government properly.
ASUU also accused Suswam of trying to blackmail the union but warned that no amount of blackmail or intimidation would stop it from pursuing the implementation of the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement, which was the only way to move the nation’s education forward.
Briefing newsmen at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, the Calabar Zone of the union, led by Dr. Charles Ononuju, accused the NEEDS Committee of rushing to release money to pro-chancellors and vice chancellors, instead of addressing abnormalities in the NEEDS Report Implementation Committee.
Flanked by ASUU chairmen at the university of Calabar, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, University of Uyo and Cross River State University of Technology, Calabar, Ononuju said by throwing arbitrary awards at the universities, the government had repudiated the 2009 agreement and 2012 MoU.
He said: “Since the commencement of the strike, our union has met with government team for more than 11 times. After the last meeting, the union raised some observations/abnormalities on the Governor Gabriel Suswan-led NEEDS Report Implementation Committee and communicated same to the chairman of the committee, Governor Suswan, expecting a response.
“Rather than responding to the observations raised by the union that would usher in quick and peaceful resolution of the impasse, the government summoned a meeting with pro-chancellors and vice chancellors and offered to them N130 billion with a matching order for the lecturers to return to work, thereby pulling out of the dialogue.
“Government, by throwing arbitrary awards at the universities, has in effect repudiated the 2009 Agreement and the MoU of 2012 based on that agreement. We reject the arbitrary imposition of money from the government. What makes a person, an organisation, including government honourable is honouring an agreement freely made.
“The government should honour the agreement it freely entered into with the union since 2009. ASUU is not making any fresh demands. This is our position and where we stand and shall continue to stand.”
Ononuju also attacked Governor Suswam for accusing the union of playing politics with its demands, describing the governor’s position as “false, dishonest, calculated to misinform the public and cause disaffection towards the union.”
“Rather than seek cheap popularity, he should tow the part of honour by asking his principal to honour the agreement.
“We hereby call on our members and the Nigerian people to reject this cheap blackmail and continue to stand on the path of truth and social justice.”
“No amount of blackmail will make the union jettison our resolve to get the government to implement the 2009 ASUU/FG Agreement and MoU of January 24, 2012.
“We wish to emphasise strongly here that our struggle has no political undertone as is being falsely and mischievously propagated. Those saying otherwise are economical with the truth.”
….As SSANU, NASU, others give FG ultimatum over August salary
By KELECHI AZUBUIKE
ABUJA—Three other unions in the nation’s university system, besides the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday, gave the Federal Government till tomorrow to pay the August salary of members or they will begin an indefinite strike.
The unions are Senior Staff Association of Nigeria University, SSANU, National Association of Technologists, NAAT, and Non Academic Staff Union, NASU.
President of SSANU, Samson Chijioke Ugwoke, in a statement said: “I, Samson Chijioke Ugwoke call on Federal Government of Nigeria to release the August 2013 salaries of federal university workers without further delay. Today is September 11, 2013, and August 2013, allocations to Federal universities are yet to be released and no one has given reasons for the delay.
“This situation is unhealthy and it is bringing untold hardship to the workers, their families and dependents. SSANU and other sister unions in Joint Action Committee, JAC, will be forced to review her stand with the Federal Government if by Friday, August 13, 2013, the salaries of our members are not paid”.