ASUU alleges gang-up against public education

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A branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Adamawa State has alleged ‘an evil gang-up’ against public education in Nigeria, saying the Federal Government is frittering golden opportunities to resolve contentions in the education sector.

The Chairman of the Modibbo Adama University (MAU) Yola chapter of ASUU, El-Maude Jibreel Gambo who on Tuesday alleged “crass neglect” of public education, accused the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige of waging a personal vendetta against ASUU.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Yola, Gambo said although ASUU has complied with the ruling of the National Industrial Court and that of the Court of Appeal, the Federal Government has refused to engage the union in finding lasting solutions to the lingering issues between it and the lecturers.

“The Federal Government is missing the opportunity presented by the suspension of the strike to engage the union in finding amicable ways of resolving the issues that led to the strike.

“Instead, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige in pursuance of his personal vendetta and war he declared against ASUU, wrote to the minister of finance to pay our members pro-rata salaries,” Gambo said.

According to him, FG’s refusal to pay lecturers their seven months of withheld salary clearly signals a hidden agenda to casualize the academic environment and suffocate public universities.

“ASUU has signed three different Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the current government in 2017, 2019 and 2020. But the government failed to implement substantial components of the MoA’s. This is apart from the government discarding the reports that arose from collective bargaining between the two committees constituted by the government headed respectively by Prof. Munzali Jibril and Prof Nimi Briggs on one hand and ASUU on the other hand.

“The collective bargaining reports contain far-reaching agreements on condition of service of university staff, funding and autonomy of universities that if implemented would go far in changing the narrative of the university education in Nigeria p. The FGN mischievously refused to accept the reports of committees the government itself set up but insisted on ASUU accepting ridiculous take it or leave it offer,” Gambo said.

He accused the government of consistently failing to address the major contentious issues, including review of the condition of service of university staff, payment of outstanding Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), funding for revitalization of universities and release of reports of visitation panels to universities.

“Majority of the people in government are products of free education but they deliberately refuse to extend such gesture to the children of the masses. They are comfortably siphoning our common resources to educate their children in private foreign universities while superintending the conversion of public universities to glorified secondary schools,” Gambo added.