FG probably will mandate reopening of universities and forbid union

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU, will decide tonight or tomorrow early whether to continue its more than six-month strike, which has shut down the majority of public universities in the nation.

Sources within the union, however, have indicated that, barring a last-minute change of heart, the union would continue the industrial action.

It can become the sole union in the university system remaining on strike as a result of the development.

Others, including the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions (NASU), and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), have temporarily halted their activities while the Federal Government considers their demands.

The members of NEC are prepared for whatever actions the government takes on the matter, a member of NEC who also serves as the union’s Zonal Chairman confided to Sunday Vanguard.

“The government has threatened to outlaw our union before. We outlived those regimes despite the fact that it occurred several times during the military era. Fighting for justice is what we do. We will all gain if the country’s educational system improves. Because their children do not attend school here, the government officials are not concerned with what happens to the sector.

I wouldn’t say that this is the choice we will make since we need to gather opinions from the many branches that held congresses a few days ago, and we will follow the majority’s lead. We will respond correctly if the government takes action and the strike is continued by the majority of people, he said.

Additionally, it was learned that the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, caused controversy when he referred to some state institutions that had opted out of the strike as “quacks” and that some of the state universities’ branches may decide to follow suit.

Already, Osodeke’s statements have been mocked by Kwara State University, Kaduna State University, and Ekiti State University, who also pointed out that the majority of the issues at stake are particular to federal universities.

The FG may order the vice chancellors to reopen the institutions and enrol lecturers who are prepared to work, it was also learned.

While those who decline would not be compensated, such lecturers would.

The National Association of Nigerian Students, or NANS, has pleaded with ASUU to take into account any offers made by the government on behalf of students.

Sunday Asefon, the national president of NAN, stated that the organisation would not back the union if the industrial action continued. “Let them feel sorry for the students who have been homebound for weeks or months. We won’t assist the union in this battle once more if the strike is not called off. Let them give in so they can continue to fight tomorrow,” he urged.

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