The Congress of University Academics, CONUA, which is a breakaway faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has dissociated itself from the ongoing strike by public university lecturers in the country.
The group condemned the industrial action, saying that strikes have crippling effects on the Nigerian university system, adding that the negative effects of strikes are always greater than their positive outcomes.
CONUA stated this in a statement jointly signed by its national coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu, and national publicity secretary, Ernest Nwoke.
In the statement made available to journalists in Abuja, the breakaway academic union maintained that it was not a part of the decision to embark on the ongoing strike by ASUU, saying that it is an independent union of academics in Nigerian universities.
The group’s statement reads in part, “The Congress of University Academics would like to seize this opportunity to announce its independence as a union of academic staff in Nigeria’s public universities. Being a separate and independent union, CONUA has never been part of the decision to embark on the industrial action which has paralysed academic activities in our universities for five months now.
“Our strongly-held view is that strikes wreak great havoc on the university system, and the concessions that are earned after every strike, over the decades, have amounted to pyrrhic victories when weighed against the systematic destruction of the local and global image of university education in Nigeria. Our preferred alternatives to strikes in resolving industrial disputes, therefore, include constructive engagement and constant dialogue with all stakeholders.
“As CONUA, we are of the strong belief that strikes should never be a strategy of first recourse. Their deployment should be contemplated only when all other options have failed, and they should not appear to be motivated by a desire to cause maximum damage.”
CONUA said its members continued with academic activities at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma after the strike declared by ASUU.
“In fact, before the incident, which caused the students to be asked to vacate the campus, most of our members had concluded their lectures. Since it wasn’t our members who declared a strike, lumping us together with those who are on strike is therefore patently unfair,” the statement added.