By Ibrahim Mukhtar
There is a continued misunderstanding between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, state chapters and some state governments who feel that the strike action embarked by the national body of the association should not be bound on the state chapters. This is why some state governors, instead of mediating and putting efforts into reconciliation between the ASUU and FG, are now trying to divide and break the hierarchy of the association. This made some of the governors start confronting and intimidating ASUU members in their states. This is contained in a press release sent to The Daily Reality by the Zonal Coordinator (Kano Zone) of ASUU, Professor Abdulkadir Muhammad.
According to the released statement, the “Academic Staff Union of Universities, Kano Zone comprising of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU), Bayero University Kano (BUK), Kaduna State University (KASU), Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil (KUST), Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano (YUMSUK), Federal University Dutse (FUD), and Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa (SLUK) met on 12th September, 2022 at SLUK. The Zone deliberated on the ongoing strike action which has entered its seventh month due to the failure of government to honour the Agreements it willingly reached with our Union. The issues discussed include among others, the intimidation of members at Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa (SLUK) by the government of Jigawa State through the University Administartion.
This intimidation takes the form of withholding of salaries and sack threat among others. It was hinged on the premise that ASUU SLUK members are on ‘Solidarity Strike’. For the avoidance of any doubt, ASUU-Kano Zone wishes to state that ASUU-SLUK is a Chartered branch of our Union and is bound by all the decisions taken by the Union. Recently, the University Management resorts to emotional blackmail against our members using close relatives to persuade them into signing return-to-work register in desperate attempt to undermine the Union struggle to salvage the Nigerian University System.
It is pertinent to note that SLUK has benefitted immensely from the proceeds of ASUU Strike in terms of Tetfund projects, revitalization funds and staff development. To say the least, Jigawa State Government has so far invested very little to the infrastructural development of the University as majority of infrastructure in the University was funded by Tetfund, which is a brain child of ASUU struggles. Recall that the Union had previously intervened to ensure the restoration of the 2% Local Government contribution to funding of SLUK. This intervention by the Union was to ensure that students of SLUK continued to enjoy subsidized education.
Furthermore, the University heavily relies on academic manpower from other Universities in the zone, making it difficult for SLUK to operate even if the government succeeds in its agenda of forceful reopening of the University. It is on record that similar antics have failed in Kaduna State University where shamble examinations were conducted, to the extent that students were made to invigilate examinations. These were also the case in Gombe State University, Yobe State University, Ekiti State University, Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma, to mention but a few.
At this juncture, the Union urges the good people of Jigawa State to prevail on the State Government to desist from its desperate attempt at undermining the Union’s patriotic efforts towards improving the condition of teaching and learning in Nigerian public universities as it is a futile effort that would only compound the current challenges in SLUK.
Parents and students should note that proper academic activities cannot run in the University under the forceful reopening, especially due to the heavy reliance of teaching manpower from other universities. Hence, the zone call on students not to waste their limited resources to return to the University when no meaningful academic activities can take place until the strike action is properly called off by the Union.
Our union strongly believes that government must fulfill its constitutional responsibility of providing quality and affordable education to ALL Nigerians as enshrined in Section 18(1) of the 1999 Constitution. We call on well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with the Union in its efforts at salvaging the Nigerian Education System.
In conclusion, ASUU wishes to commiserate with the people of Jigawa State over the resent flooding that has resulted in the loss of lives and property and calls on the authority concern to render all the necessary support to victims of this disaster.”