Lecturers in universities across the country yesterday shunned the classrooms in compliance with the lecture-free day declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that the lecture free-day which was declared by the union to sensitise the universities and the public on its impending strike was observed by most universities in the country.
This came a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari’s assurance that his administration would fulfill the agreement with the ASUU.
The union said the lecture-free day became necessary following the federal government’s failure to honour the agreement reached in December 2020 by both parties which prompted the suspension of the 9-month prolonged strike embarked on at the time.
LEADERSHIP gathered that most of the universities complied with ASUU’s lecture-free directive.
At the University of Abuja, some of the students who spoke to our correspondent confirmed they were at home following a public notice from the university to that effect.
A student of the university who identified herself as Comfort said she did not attend school in observance of the day.
She urged the federal government to take steps to avert another round of strike by the union to the detriment of the students.
“Government needs to act fast and redeem the agreement it entered into with ASUU so as to prevent another strike that will paralyze academic activities in public universities in the country,” Comfort appealed.
Also, the founder of the Abusites blog, Chila Andrew, said the Ahmadu Bello University declared Monday as lecture-free day.
A source in the university who did not want his name in print said, “The lecture free-day was to allow the union to mobilise its members and stakeholders in protest to the action of the government towards the implementation of the Memorandum of Action with the union.”
Meanwhile, the University of Lagos (UNILAG) ASUU chapter said it would hold its sensitisation meeting today between 11am and 2pm.
It, therefore, declared that within the period of the sensitisation meeting, there shall be no lecture, statutory meetings, including supervision and seminars.
This is as the Lagos zone of the union has scheduled a briefing on the matter for between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on the same campus to address the public on the failure of the government to implement the contents of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) entered with the union in 2020 which led to the suspension of the then nine-month long industrial action.
The university’s branch of the union, in a statement signed by its chairperson, Dele Ashiru, said the aim of the meeting is to sensitise the university community, the media and members of the public on the Nigerian government’s failure to address its grievances.
He stated: “At the last NEC meeting of our union, all branches were directed to observe a day of mobilisation and sensitisation of members, students and the general public to the impending strike action over government insensitive and unwillingness to implement the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement which will usher in a new and robust salary structure for our members.
“As you are already aware, tomorrow, 8th February, 2022, has been declared as UNILAG’s day of mobilisation and sensitisation in compliance with the directive of NEC.
“In view of the above, there shall be no lectures, meetings, seminars, workshops, etc, during the period of the mobilisation and sensitisation congress between 11a.m and 2p.m. Members are therefore enjoined to attend the congress enmasse as a show of support and solidarity for the new salary and welfare structure.”
The Bayero University Kano (BUK) chapter of ASUU also declared Monday, February 7 a lecture-free day in the university.
The union said it would use the day to sensitise students, parents and other stakeholders on the brewing crisis arising from the federal government’s alleged failure to judiciously implement existing agreements.
It was however observed that some universities currently writing examinations did not observe the day.
Also yesterday, the Akintola Ladoke University chapter of ASUU threatened to embark on an indefinite strike over the failure of the federal government to implement the agreements it reached with the union.
The union said it was tired with the insincerity of the present administration in fully implementing the agreements .
The union’s chairman and secretary, Dr Biodun Olaniran and Dr Toyin Abegunrin respectively, said after the agreements were reached, the government had refused to sign what would make the welfare of lecturers better.
Apparently reacting to the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari that he will fulfil the agreements reached with the union, the ASUU leaders declared that promises cannot replace the implementation of the agreement.
They said the union members have resolved to embark on an indefinite strike since the government was not ready to do the needful.
While asking Nigerians to prevail on the government to avert the impending strike, ASUU said it had involved many stakeholders to talk to the government, saying the government was portraying the union as a dog which can only bark and not bite.
“Our union, ASUU, is using this medium to call upon the Federal Government of Nigeria once again to implement the agreement it has signed with ASUU. It is unfortunate to mention that the government signed an agreement with the ASUU since 2009 but the agreement is not implemented till date. ‘