ASUU Strike :Part one.

On Tuesday June 24 2009, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) began an indefinite strike to protest government’s refusal to endorse a 2006 agreement which among other things would devote 26% of annual budgets to the education sector.

The accord also made provisions for a new salary structure which would have required a N78 billion budget. Government first denied the accord had been inked to make it operational.

Nigeria’s public universities are grounded as the Non-Academic Staff Union and the Senior Staff Association of Universities have also joined the strike.

Since this latest strike began, many individuals and organisations have intervened. For instance, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the strike has worsened the deplorable condition in the education sector in Nigeria.

According to the NLC, even though it has acknowledged the recent intervention of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the ongoing negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU following the strike, it described it as inadequate.

Since the military era, ASUU’s struggles have revolved around the survival of the university system, with three components- the conditions of service (salary and non-salary), funding and university autonomy/academic freedom.

By 1992, the situation of the academic staff on the university campuses in Nigeria had become more intolerable. The drive to leave the universities for foreign countries and the private sector had become, for many lecturers, the solution to the decay in the universities and the demoralisation of university teachers.

The September 3, 1992 Agreement was a product of several negotiations. The Agreement, by providing a periodic view of the funding needs of the universities, allowed universities to plan based on expected funds. It re-affirmed the right of workers to collective bargaining and enabled a more scientific approach to funding the universities.

It also kept the democratic aspiration of the people for democratic rights alive and formed the basis for further struggles by the union for the defence of the university system and for education.
In 1994, the union again went on strike to demand from the government of the late head of state, Sani Abacha, re-negotiation of the Agreement; the re-instatement of the over 80 lecturers whose appointments were terminated at the University of Abuja ; and the de-annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections. But the strike did not succeed, especially because of the political demand in ASUU’s struggles, which caused internal disagreement within the union.

The struggle, which lasted six months, saw the unleashing by government of various tactics, including divide and rule on ethno-regional lines to break the strike.

Salaries were stopped and vice-chancellors were allegedly given money to organise false classes to convince ASUU members and the public that it had broken ASUU’s strike.

It can therefore, be seen that ASUU’s struggle has been on for several years. The government has a duty to ensure that Nigerian students go back to classes.

It is bad enough that no Nigerian university is rated among the Top best universities in the world.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: