The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has aligned with the nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC). ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, directed members to participate in the industrial action, expressing solidarity with the broader labour movement.
This decision follows the NLC’s announcement on Monday, commencing the strike from midnight on November 13. The unions’ joint action is a response to the assault on NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and other executives in Imo State on November 1, as well as lingering labour issues in Imo.
Despite a restraining order from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, ASUU has chosen to join the strike. The court had directed the NLC and TUC to halt the industrial action, responding to an ex-parte request by the Nigerian government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
ASUU President Osodeke, in a letter to zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons, urged compliance with the nationwide strike, stating, “All members of our union are hereby directed to join this action of NLC to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and the leadership of the union.”
ASUU highlighted its concerns over the “deepening socio-economic crises” in Nigeria, attributing them to the implementation of “neo-liberal economic policies” by the government of President Bola Tinubu. The union emphasized issues such as the rising cost of living, hardship resulting from petroleum product price deregulation, and Naira devaluation.
Furthermore, ASUU expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to meet its demands, including the revitalization of universities, autonomy and academic freedom, removal of federal universities from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and amendment of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Act.
The union called for the conclusion of the renegotiation exercise based on the Professor Nimi Briggs’ Committee’s principles and the release of allocated funds for the payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA). ASUU rejected the dissolution of university Governing Councils by President Bola Tinubu and condemned the directive for federal universities to remit 40% of their Internally Generated Funds (IGF) to the government.
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ASUU also criticized the NUC for implementing the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS), vowing to pursue the rejection of CCMAS to a logical conclusion. The union strongly condemned the attack on NLC President Joe Ajaero in Imo State, pledging to resist any attempt to politicize legitimate demands.
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Despite the recent release of four out of eight months’ withheld salaries, ASUU called on the government to unconditionally release all the withheld salaries, emphasizing the need for a permanent resolution of outstanding issues related to the previous strike action.