Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has again spoken up about the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In a statement on Thursday, Mr Falana called on the Federal Government to take action to meet the demands of the striking lecturers and end the five-month old industrial action which started on February 14.
Falana called on the government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the union.
He said: “Based on our consultation with the leadership of ASUU, we have confirmed that the entire members of ASUU are fully prepared to call off the strike as soon as the FG/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement is executed by the Federal Government,”
“In the circumstance, we are compelled to call on President Buhari to end the industrial action by directing the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu to execute the Renegotiated Agreement. The Agreement should be executed as soon as possible in the public interest.”
Falana noted that the Federal Government failed to sign the renegotiated agreement by ASUU.
He said, “It is public knowledge that the Federal Government inaugurated the Renegotiation Committee headed by Professor Munzali Jubrin in December 2020.
“The Committee was saddled with the sole responsibility of addressing the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) pertaining to the task of revamping all federal universities in the country.
“After extensive consultations with all the relevant stakeholders, the Committee completed the national (assignment and) submitted a comprehensive report to the Federal Government in May 2021.
“Regrettably, the Agreement was not signed by the Federal Government 9 months after the submission of the said report. Hence, ASUU embarked on the current industrial action.”
He lamented that the strike has lasted for almost five months due to “the dissatisfaction of the Federal Government with certain aspects of the report of the Jibrin Renegotiate Committee”.
He also explained that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige failed to sign another renegotiated agreement, lamenting that the strike has lasted almost five months due to “the dissatisfaction of the Federal Government with certain aspects of the report of the Jibrin Renegotiate Committee”.
Mr Falana said, “Instead of ironing out the grey areas in the agreement the Federal Government turned round to set up another Renegotiated Committee under the leadership of Professor Nimi Briggs in March 2022.
“The Committee has also submitted its report to the Federal Government. Even though the Federal government and the ASUU have reached an understanding to call off the ongoing strike based on the execution of the report of the Briggs Committee, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, has announced the purported rejection of the report.”
According to Falana, available information shows the Federal Government has not authorised the Minister to reject the agreement.
“The implication of rejecting the report of the Briggs Renegotiated Committee is that the ASUU strike will continue indefinitely,” he warned.
Mr Falana said it would take the execution of the agreement for the union to heed the call.