9th December, 2013
Following the refusal of university lecturers to resume classes at the expiration of the 9 December ultimatum, the Federal Government has summoned all Vice Chancellors of federal and state universities to a crucial meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
Also invited to the meeting were members of the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) On Needs Assessment Report for inauguration.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has a representative in the IMC.
A statement signed by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, on behalf of the Supervising Minister of Education, Barrister Nyeson Wike, published in a national daily today, called on Vice Chancellors to come to the meeting with a list of their prioritised projects based on Needs Assessment Report for funding.
“In addition, Vice Chancellors of state universities must come along with with their account details,” the statement added.
It is not clear whether the meeting was called to disburse the N200b the government said it had deposited in an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which ASUU is insisting must be communicated to it formally.
The President, ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge Isa, said the lecturers were not moved by the N200 billion that the federal Government announced that it had deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
In an interview in the current edition of TheNEWS magazine, Isa explained that the union was deceived in the past.
“In January 2012, when the Secretary to the Government [Anyim Pius Anyim] of the Federation was dictating that MoU, he told us that they had already set N100 billion aside and that once we finished the NEEDS Assessment report, the money would be made available for the commencement of implementation of the revitalisation of universities. That is almost two years ago.”
A survey of the various campuses of the nation’s universities this morning revealed that members of ASUU have defied Federal Government directive that they should return to work.
At the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Lagos State University, Ojo, University of Benin, Edo State, lecturers stuck to their guns and refused to attend classes.
Though non-academic staff were seen at UNILAG working, the classes were deserted.
One place that witnessed considerable human presence was the University’s Sport Centre, where lecturers were seen doing some work-outs.
A lecturer who spoke with PMNEWS said: “No lecturer is paying attention to the rubbish the Federal Government is doing.”
The Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences said they would frustrate any move by the government and its agents on campus to compel them to work.
P.M.NEWS learnt the university authorities last Friday directed all faculties to hold the faculty board studies meeting in anticipation of resumption, but no faculty member complied.
Last week, the Unilag Chapter of ASUU held its congress in which the lecturers decided to continue with the strike.
Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, UNILAG ASUU Chairman, said “members are resolute and believe in the position of the union.”UI dares FG
At the University of Ibadan (UI), the situation was the same. No single lecturer was found in the classes.
PMNEWS went round some departments and found out that no lecturer signed the register for resumption in their departments.
Most of the lecturers who spoke to our correspondent on phone said that they were not scared by the threat of the Federal Government to sack them.
They urged the Federal Government to quickly answer their requests.
Last week, the school authority sent a memo to all the provosts and deans that any lecturer who failed to comply with the directive of the government to resume would be sacked.
In Benin, Chairman of UNIBEN ASUU, Dr. Anthony Monye-Emina, said members of the branch will continue with the strike until directed otherwise by the national secretariat.
“We are disregarding the ultimatum and threat of sack by the federal government. We are still on strike and none of our members has signed any register to resume work. We will continue with the strike until otherwise directed by the national secretariat of the Union,” Monye-Emina said.
The university campus was devoid of the usual heavy human traffic as only few teaching staff, few students, mostly medical students and non-teaching staff, were seen going about their different businesses.
The Public Relations Officer of UNIBEN, Barr. Harrison Osarenren, could not be reached on his mobile phone for comment as it was switched off.
A member of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, at the weekend said that issuing threat and deadline to the lecturers was not the best way to resolve the lingering ASUU strike.
“I condemn all provocative statements from whosoever. We are all Nigerians, ASUU members are Nigerians committed to the development of the Nigerian state. We have interacted with them, and they are committed to the uplift meant of the education sector along with others who are also committed to the sector. So, issuing threat by whosoever is condemnable,” Bagudu said.
—Folarin Ademosu, Jethro Ibileke/Benin & Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan