The Academic Staff union of Universities (ASUU) says it will continue with its ongoing strike until the Federal Government meets its demands.
Malam Nasir Fagge, the President of ASUU, who said this on Monday in Abuja at a news conference, said that "the union shall never be cowed’’ into calling off its five-month old strike.
"We shall bow only to what we as academics are convinced will serve the interest of Nigerians and its people no matter their ethnic, religious or class origin.
"This is where we stand. We shall never be cowed.”
Fagge said the impositions of sanctions on the union for leading a legitimate strike was “a gross violation of the principles of Freedom of Association''.
He said that the notice of sack or intimidation would not force the union to abandon its struggle for a better life at the citadel of learning.
"We are not against the reopening of the universities since we were not the one that closed it in the first place.
"What ASUU can do is to withdraw our services nationwide and that is what happened,’’ he said.
The union president said the ASUU national executive council would have taken a definitive decision on ending the strike, especially with the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan but for certain uncertainties.
Fagge said the uncertainties involved issues contained in the government reports presented to the union which ASUU members nationwide had strong feelings about.
Specifically, he said the members were requesting Mr President to facilitates the resolutions of the issues as a way of concretising their understanding of the following agreed positions.
"The N200 billion agreed upon as 2013 Revitalisation Fund for public universities shall be deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria and disbursed to the benefiting universities within two weeks.
"The renegotiating of the 2009 agreement in 2014 be included in the final document as agreed at the discussion with your Excellency.
"A non-victimisation clause which is normally captured in all interactions of this nature be included in the final document.
"A new memorandum of understanding shall be validly endorsed, signed by a representative of government, preferably the Attorney General of the Federation and a representative of ASUU, with the president of the NLC as a witness.’’
Fagge further stressed that the demands were to ensure that the MoU was binding on government.
He said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, announced sometime ago that the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding, a document authorised by himself was not binding on government.
Fagge said the SGF told the union that the MoU was signed by a permanent secretary and was therefore a mere promise and “a non-binding piece of paper”.
He, however, stressed that the union was not sponsored by any political party as being speculated in some quarters.
He appealed to the government to fulfil its part of the agreement so as to end the crisis, saying that the union was willing to do all that was necessary to resolve the lingering crisis as soon as “the expressed observations of its members are addressed’’.
NAN recalls that the Federal Ministry of Education on Nov. 28 directed the authorities of federal universities to re-open classes immediately and to treat lecturers who refused to resume work as having resigned.
It would be recalled that members of the union began their indefinite strike on July to press home their demands for the implementation MoU signed with the government in 2009.