The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Owerri Zone, has threatened a total showdown with the Federal Government over the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement.
The union said during a press conference at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, on Monday that it would embark on an indefinite strike as “the magnanimity of ASUU that resulted in various MOUs and MOAs arising from the 2009 agreement has been spurned by the Federal Government.”
Leaders of the union from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State University, Owerri, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, were in attendance.
Addressing journalists, the ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Mr Uzo Onyebinama, explained that some lecturers are being owed as much as 10 months’ salary.
“As we speak now, the Federal Government is in arrears of major components of the agreement, and that includes funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, and the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
“The consequences of the Federal Government’s refusal to implement the 2009 agreement is that the union has resolved to go on an indefinite strike any moment and once it begins, it will not stop until all agreements are fulfilled.”
Also, ASUU Benin Zone, has said the impending strike by the nation’s university lecturers is a last resort to draw government attention to their plights and not to derail academic activities.
The zonal Coordinator of the Benin Zone ASUU, Prof. Fred Esumeh, stated this in Benin, Edo State.
Esumeh said, “Strike is less frequent in the western world because their governments act. But here in Nigeria, you have to go on strike frequently before government can act.”
The zonal coordinator, who described members’ remuneration as slave wage, demanded a new condition of service.
He said, “The Nigerian universities are no longer attractive to foreign lecturers, including those from neighbouring countries.
“This is due to the prevailing slave wage where the highest ranked professor earns less than a thousand dollars monthly.”