Nationwide protest looms as ASUU, FG deadlock drags on

The disagreement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Nigeria’s federal government could lead to another nationwide protest, The Realm News understands.

ASUU has been on strike since March over the Muhammadu Buhari government’s failure to honour an agreement that could, according to lecturers, result in better funding for tertiary institutions.

Both parties are also at loggerheads over a payroll platform. The government wants all lecturers enrolled on the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which it says would arrest corruption and boost transparency. But ASUU wants it own, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), to preserve varsity autonomy.

Labour minister Chris Ngige vowed to explore other options should ASUU refuse to end its prolonged strike this week. But ASUU insistsed that the government’s failure to agree to the lecturers’ demands means the Buhari administration was not really interested in ending the strike in 2020.

ASUU told students to learn a trade and told its lecturers to seek other sources of income as the strike could drag on for years.

But student union governments in the country have told the Buhari government to approve ASUU’s demands or face nationwide demonstrations.

The Universities Students Union Presidents of the Southwest region issued an ultimatum on November 12 during the Universities Students Union Press Conference themed: “ASUU Strike: The Students’ Union Position And Way Forward.”

The deliberations of these student leaders were largely based on the dire need for the federal government to prioritise the educational sector, harping that the struggle of ASUU should never be undermined.

The union leaders also suggested the federal government form a committee comprising all students’ union leaders across the federation as well as government representatives to address the students’ welfare.

The student union leaders said they would organise “aggressive” protests across Nigeria if the government failed to honour its demands in seven days.

The ultimatum expires on Thursday, November 19, with the expiration coming within days of President Muhammadu Buhari vowing not to allow the EndSARS protest against police brutality repeat itself.

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