Some stakeholders have continued to react to the pulling out of some state universities from the ongoing indefinite strike by ASUU, saying they pulled out due to threats from their employers.
They made this known in separate interviews in Abuja on Tuesday
It would be recalled that some state universities such as the Kaduna State University, (KASU), Ekiti State University (EKSU) and the Nasarawa State University, Keffi have pulled out of the ongoing indefinite strike actions by ASUU.
While other state universities refused to join the nationwide strike, they include Osun, Rivers, Delta, Borno, Anambra, Kwara, Akwa Ibom states and the three universities owned by Lagos State.
Dr Oluremi Oni, a lecturer in the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) said that the pulling out by state universities from the strike would not in any way affect the structure of the union.
Oni, who blamed ASUU for bringing state universities into the issues affecting federal universities, said their pulling out was actually proper.
According to her, no matter how many state universities that pulled out of the struggle, this will not affect our collective desire to protect the country’s educational system.
“Government has shown that they don’t like ASUU; when a similar thing happened last year, ASUU gave the government the presentation and they picked the one they could honour and threw it back at ASUU and ASUU was okay with them at that time.
“So it was because of the government’s inability to implement the agreement last year that made ASUU to go back to strike.
“Government did not implement what it promised us and now they are expanding the problem and the public does not even know what the problem is and everybody is blaming ASUU,” she said.
Oni expressed concern over the action of the government’s intention to extend the meeting with the union till June 2023, saying that this showed lack of commitment to education.
On the ‘no work, no pay’ stands by the government on ASUU, she blamed the government on this approach, saying that the union took the decision on behalf of the generality of Nigerian children to have quality education not minding the fact that their children were also affected.
“The government has forgotten that ASUU members also have children in these universities and so members are also losing.’’
The Secretary, Workers and Youths Solidarity Network (WYSN), Mr Damilola Owot called on the leadership of ASUU to re-emphasise the benefits of the strike to state workers with a view to giving them reasons to maintain the tempo and not to relax.
According to him, ASUU should pay special attention to specific needs of the state universities too and incorporate them into their future demands.
We extend our solidarity to the members of the ASUU who are currently on strike.
“The decision of some state universities to pull out of ASUU could largely be linked to threats from their respective employers – state governments.
“The demands are clear and vivid; honour agreements, pay salary arrears and adopt UTAS.
“We believe that both the State and Federal workers stand to benefit from the concessions,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, Congress of University Academics (CONUA), Dr Niyi Sunmonu insisted that the liberalisation of academic unions was the only way out to end incessant strikes in universities.
Sunmonu said the liberalisation would engender cross-fertilisation of ideas, nurture healthy competition and protect the interests of all stakeholders hence there would be no need for strike.
“Freedom of association is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“And as long as that provision still exists in the constitution, Nigerian citizens are freeborn and they can operate under it to freely associate.
“We hope that the freedom of association will continue to help the advancement of learning in our universities,” he said.
Also, the former National President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr Sunday Asefon had previously called on state-owned universities to opt out of the action.
Asefon said that ASUU had lost the support of Nigerian students given the unpatriotic disposition displayed by them in extending their strike indefinitely.
Asefon said students would no longer support the union’s call for intervention while accusing the body of being self-serving.
We have taken the time to review the decision of ASUU to declare an indefinite strike after the ongoing six-month strike.
“We consider the decision as not only unpatriotic, unnecessary but wicked and definitely not in the interest of our nation or the tertiary education system in Nigeria.
“We call on state governments to forthwith liaise with Vice-Chancellors of state institutions to announce the resumption of academic activities and grant the vice-chancellors authority to enforce the resumption.
“State universities should never have joined the strike in the first place,” he said.