11 state varsities shun ASUU, FG threatens unions

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No fewer than 11 state universities are not participating in the strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Our correspondents reported on Monday that academic activities were going on in universities owned by Osun, Rivers, Delta, Borno, Anambra, Kwara and Akwa Ibom states as well as the three universities owned by Lagos State.

Also ahead of the National Universities Commission meeting with vice-chancellors and pro-chancellors of federal universities today (Tuesday), the Federal Government on Monday vowed to end the culture of strikes in tertiary institutions in the country.

But as the strike by ASUU entered its 204th day, lecturers in some state universities are not on strike.

Lecturers in two universities owned by Rivers State, Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt and the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, did not join the strike.

At the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, academic activities were going on as many of the students were writing examinations on Monday.

A final year student of Political Science, Master Ovum Amadi in an interview with The PUNCHsaid he was preparing for his examinations next week. He said, “Examinations have started. Those in 200-level have started.”

When contacted, a member of ASUU in the university, Dr Mandah Stanley, said the union in the institution was in court over some leadership issues.

The spokesman for the university, Dr. Ngozi Okiridu, said the institution had no reason to join the strike for two main reasons.

She said the university is a teacher training institution. He added, “Governor Nyesom Wike pays our salaries promptly every month. He has not failed to pay for one day.”

Our correspondent also observed that academic activities were in progress at Osun State University.

The Acting Chairperson of ASUU in the university, Dr Weinde Olaosebikan, said lecturers in the institution did not join the ongoing strike because the branch was suspended by the national leadership of ASUU.

Also, the Delta State University, Abraka, was in session despite the position of the ASUU branch in the university.

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A student, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the second semester exam was going on in the university.

But the ASUU Chairman DELSU chapter, Prof Godwin Demaki, said that his members were not among lecturers working.

He said, “DELSU has over 300 lecturers of which about 200 are full members of ASUU.

“The remaining have yet to join the union and these are the one that are going to lecture halls to teach and they do it in disguise because when they see us trying to enforce the strike, they will run.”

The Technical University, Ibadan is not affected by the strike. The university which is owned by Oyo State Government is a fee paying varsity.

The Public Relations Officer for the Technical University, Mr Akeem Lasisi, when contacted told our correspondent that the university was not affected by incessant ASUU strike.

The Anambra State-owned  Chukwuemeka Odumekwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, is also not affected by the strike.

The school’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Harrison Madubueze, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, on Monday, said the institution had never been part of the ASUU strike, not to talk of pulling out.

But the school’s ASUU branch chairman, Osita Chiaghanam, declined comment on the issue. A 200-level student of the Department of Social Sciences,  Rebecca Uzor, said the students did not know if ASUU was on strike as they were not affected, saying that normal lectures had been going on at the institution without any disruption.

Normal lectures were going on at Kwara State University, Malete in the Moro Local Government Area of the state on Monday.

The PUNCH correspondent observed on Monday that KWASU students were taking their examination which began two weeks ago.

Efforts to reach the Chairman of KWASU branch of ASUU, Dr Salau Sheu on Monday did not yield result as he did not respond to calls to his phone number but he had earlier told the correspondent in an earlier interview that the lecturers in the institution did not join the strike because of a clause of the ASUU constitution which exempts new members from joining any industrial action until a stipulated period.

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An ASUU member at Lagos State University, Ojo, Dr Gbenga Owolabi of the Department of Mass Communication, explained that LASU did not join the ongoing ASUU strike because the national body of the union did not recognise the current ASUU-LASU officials who were handpicked by the former vice-chancellor of LASU, Prof. Lanre Fagboun after he sacked the four executives of ASUU-LASU.

Also, academic activities were going on at the Lagos State University of Education, Otto/Ijanikin. A lecturer, who confided in The PUNCH, revealed that the school got its university status barely six months ago, saying they were on the verge of joining when the strike began.
Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education and Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe were unified into Lagos State University of Education by the Lagos State Government.
A lecturer in the department of Mass Communication,Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, in Mkpat Enin local government area, who preferred not to be named told one of our correspondents that the institution joined the strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, but pulled out when it was rolled over in February, 2022..”
Corroborating the lecturer, a student of Mass Communication department of the University, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Lectures have been going on in the university since the resumption of ASUU strike.”
However, the Secretary of AKSU-ASUU Mr. Joseph Mark declined to speak on phone, saying “Let’s speak on this some other time.”
The management of Kaduna State University on Monday warned the institution’s branch of ASUU to resume academic activities or face sanctions.
In a circular on Monday, signed by the university’s Registrar, Samuel Manshop, the university said it would invoke section 2(2) of the staff conditions of service if the lecturers failed the comply with the directives of resumption.

But a lecturer,  who confided  in  The PUNCH, said “The KASU chapter of the ASUU did not actually pull out of the strike.“

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it is considering a number of options to bring an end to incessant strikes in tertiary institutions across the country.

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This was made known in a document titled, “Industrial relations – Tertiary education,” which was prepared by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and made exclusively available to one of our correspondents in Abuja.

Lamenting, the minister noted that the government had invested a lot in the tertiary education sector.
“In spite of the well over N2tn sunk in infrastructural development in tertiary institutions across the country, all we have got are strikes, strikes, strikes and threats of strikes.
“Government is considering a number of options to put an end to incessant strikes in our tertiary institutions. All options are on the table.”
But unions in the institutions in separate interviews with our correspondents knocked the Federal Government for saying that a lot had been invested in the tertiary education sector. The unions also warned the Federal Government against proscribing the unions.
Speaking with one of our correspondents in Abuja, the vice-president of ASUU, Dr Christopher Piwuna said, “The statement coming from the government that they have invested over N2 trillion in education…, I want to let you know that the money is from TETFund. Nobody is saying TETFund is not doing enough. “
Also speaking with one of our correspondents, the general secretary of the College of Education Academic Staff Union, Dr Ahmed Lawan accused the government of not being sincere.
On his own, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Anderson Ezeibe in an interview with The PUNCH cautioned the government against threatening the unions.
In a related development,  the ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan, Prof. Akinwole   Ayoola, said on Monday asked Nigerians to disregard the claims of the Federal Government that it had met the demands of the union.
The union  stated that all its chapters that started the over six-month-old strike were still part of the ongoing action and were resolute to get what public universities needed from government  to survive and compete globally.
He said, “Nigerians should disregard the lies of the Federal Government. The Federal Government is far from meeting any of the union’s seven demands.

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