The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it is willing to suspend the protracted strike action only when the federal government meets its demands.
Ade Adejumo, the coordinator of the union’s Ibadan Zone, who spoke at a press conference on Wednesday, said the union is ready to call off the strike but can’t go back to class on empty stomachs.
The union had in March declared an indefinite strike, citing the federal government’s failure to meet its demands.
The industrial action was on the back of disagreement with the government over issues on revitalization of universities and earned academic allowance.
Other issues raised by the union had included the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as well as funding of universities.
According to Adejumo, the federal government had agreed to inject more funds into the university system towards upping the standard of education currently in place but is yet to fulfill the agreement.
“At this stage of the struggle, Nigerians are urged to compel the government to release withheld salaries of our members, remit check-off dues of the union to the rightful owner,” Ajao added.
“Government should also speed up the process of testing the integrity of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) so that it can be deployed for payment beginning from January 2021.
“We are ready to suspend the strike. Our children too are tired of staying at home but we can’t work on empty stomachs.
“That is why ASUU has been consistent in challenging the rot in the system through sustained engagements with the powers that be since the time of the military.
“The gains of ASUU struggles are in the changes that TETFund has been able to bring to the tertiary education sector in the country, and ASUU will not relent in pushing for a better university system in the country.”
Adejumo, who was represented at the conference by Moyo Ajao, the chairperson of ASUU at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), said the union was forced into a strike in order to give FG the room to address the lingering issues.
“It was a patriotic act aimed at resolving the issues so that our students would be in school any time the lockdown was lifted,” the chairman said.
“Some people have been wondering why ASUU is on strike again. The simple answer is that ASUU is on strike because of the survival of the University system where many of us still have our children as students.
“ASUU is on strike in order to restore the past glory of public universities and address infrastructural decay and deficit in our institutions.
“ASUU is on strike for the legitimate dues of its members who are the least paid in the tertiary education sub-sector.”
Ajao expressed concerns about its multiple meetings with FG delegates, some of which ended without a consensus. He said the union is tired of having circus “a show of talks” but continues to do so in the interest of the students.