Nigerian Government Breaks ASUU’s Rank, Registers Two Academic Unions

…FG presents certificate of registration to ASUU faction

The Federal Government on Tuesday broke the ranks of The Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) when it registered two unions in the university system.

The unions are the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).

CONUA is a union for lecturers across the nation’s universities and it is led by a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Niyi Sunmonu. The group was established in 2018 at OAU.

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, explained that the two bodies will exist alongside ASUU.

He further stated that the two associations will enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to other academic unions in the tertiary education system.

It is not clear what the implication of recognising the bodies will be on the seven month-long industrial action embarked upon by ASUU.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14.

In August, the union declared a “total and indefinite” extension of its industrial action, noting that the government has failed to satisfactorily meets its demands.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The federal government has presented a certificate of registration to the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).

Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, presented the certificate to CONUA on Tuesday.

CONUA is a breakaway faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Ngige also presented a certificate of registration to the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).

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The development comes amid a strike by ASUU over the demand for increased funding for public universities, a review of lecturers’ salaries and allowances, among other issues.

The strike has lasted for over seven months.

Meetings between the federal government and ASUU have not yielded any concrete result that signifies that the strike will end soon.

However, the federal government had filed a case against ASUU before the national industrial court over the prolonged strike.

In its ruling, the court had ordered the lecturers to resume, but ASUU has filed an appeal seeking a stay of execution of the judgment.

Recently, the leadership of the house of representatives met with ASUU and federal government officials over the strike.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, at a recent meeting with pro-chancellors of federal universities, also promised to “make further consultations” over the strike by the lecturers.

Meanwhile, ASUU has said it is willing to suspend the strike if the federal government accepts its “minimum demands”.

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