The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is one of the strongest national bodies. It has been serially engaged in industrial actions (strikes) for over a decade. It often adopts strike as a last resort to press home its demand after all other options are exhausted. The present strike is in its sixth month; it started in February 2022.
Interestingly, the previous strike actions had produced some impacts. Notable among them is the establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). This lingering feud started in 2009 when ASUU signed an agreement with the then Late Umaru Yar’adua administration which, is yet to be fully implemented. This led to another negotiation in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
Among the struggle of ASUU is (was) to gain the proper attention of the federal government on the revitalisation of public iniversities, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), improved salary structure and acceptance of proposed UTAS (University Transparency and Accountability Solution) to replace IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System), which was redefined as MoA, 2020.
ASUU has been making efforts to ensure children of the poor/masses can afford public universities. It attracts public sympathy, including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and other governmental agencies. The NLC, as an umbrella for labour unions, had embarked in a two-day nationwide solidarity strike, in favour of ASUU. This has raised public appreciation and increased the morale in supporting ASUU.
Despite the federal government’s refusal to pay ASUU members’ salaries for over five months (no work no pay policy), a strategy to clip their wings and call off the strike, the union reaffirmed its position not to suspend the strike unless and until their demand(s) are met. Consequently, the union rolled over the strike, for another four weeks.
As a concerned Nigerian student, I commend ASUU’s resilience and perseverance, in bearing this economic hardship. I, however, appeal to them to reconsider the future of Nigerian students, review their strategy and devise another means/way of channelling their demands, to get things done, appropriately.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Maiduguri,