By Ibukun Emiola, Ibadan.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says its members remained resolute to get what public universities need from the Federal Government to survive and compete globally.
Prof. Ayo Akinwole, the Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, made the declaration on Monday in Ibadan.
Akinwole said that lecturers in public universities in Nigeria had been using their “blood” to run public universities and sustain them.
“Lecturers retain Nigerian public universities with their blood; but is it right for Nigerians to say they should die on the job? I am saying they are owing us over eight years verified earned academic allowances.
“Is it only ASUU that is on strike? Some sectors (research institutes) of the nation have been on strike for 13 months and the government has been paying their salaries.
“Is it an offence to become lecturers in Nigerian universities? What led to the strike? It is the non-responsiveness of the government that led to the strike,” he said.
According to him, the union will not sacrifice its members’ welfare and will resist any effort to turn intellectuals to slaves.
He said that the union had given 14-month strike notice to the Federal Government before commencing the strike in 2022.
Akinwole said that even the efforts of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council in 2021 yielded no results before the union was forced to declare the strike on Feb. 14 this year.
“We waited for 14 months — from December 2020 to February 2022 — before declaring this strike.
“I am saying 14 months’ notice, 14 months’ engagements and Nigeria Inter-Religious Council intervened in 2021 when we would have declared the strike.
“We gave them one month with no result. Heroes are gone before they are appreciated but our union will not die. We will not die. We are going to be alive to see this struggle through,” he said.
Akinwole said that the N1.1 trillion demanded for the revitalisation of universities was not for lecturers in the public universities.
He explained that the amount was arrived by the Federal Government, through its Needs Assessment report on the level of decay in Nigerian public universities.
Akinwole, however, thanked ASUU members for sacrificing and remaining resolute to reposition the nation’s public university education.
He noted that only strikes had forced the government to spend money on its universities in the last 25 years.
“If ASUU does not go on this struggle, there will be no university for new people to attend.
“In the last 25 years, the Federal Government would not have spent money on its universities, if ASUU had not gone on strike.
“I am also a parent and my children are at home with me. Most lecturers have to spend their money on their students’ projects for some students to graduate.
“I could give you numbers of some of my students, who can tell you how much I have had offer to support their projects,” he said.