Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Wednesday said it’ll not resume academic activities until its demands for embarking on industrial action are met before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The union added though, it’s not against calling for reopening of universities within the country.
However, the union asked Nigerians to “honestly interrogate this position.”
Speaking with reporters in Ilorin, Coordinator, Ibadan zone of ASUU Prof Ade Adejumo said “even if universities are opened today, our strike which was predicated on government’s readiness to honour its memorandum of agreement (MOA) with us continues.
“It is our responsibility to call the government’s attention to its duties to the state and its citizens, this we’ve done and there’s no going back.
Ibadan zone of ASUU comprises the University of Ibadan (UI), University of Ilorin (Unilorin), Osun State University (UniOsun), Kwara State University (KWASU), and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).
He said that “throwing schools open within the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is an open invitation to a tragic explosion of the scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak!”
Adejumo noted that there are agitations from some quarters for the govt to re-open schools, especially by proprietors of personal universities, saying that the lives of students shouldn’t be endangered for pecuniary gains.
“Has the Nigerian government met the NCDC criteria on COVID- 19 protocol in our institutions? Must we endanger the lives of our youngsters for pecuniary gains? Should the first issue on life and death be used on profit matter? COVID-19 remains considerably with us. it’s in recognition of this incontrovertible fact that the govt itself has unrolled certain conditions to be met before schools are re-opened.
“How many of our public institutions can confidently vouch for the safety of our youngsters given the available facilities such as: provision of running water for handwashing; social distancing among students; the utilization of recommended face masks and shields, which are key components of NCDC protocols? A situation where an area meant for four now houses 20 students can’t be said to be social-distancing compliant. Our position, as a responsible Union on of these is that; throwing schools open within the midst of of these , is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak! When this happens, Nigerians won’t say that they were never warned,” he said.
The ASUU also said that members of the union wouldn’t resume work should the govt reopen universities, saying, “Our strike action which was predicated on governments’ readiness to honour its MOA with us continues, albeit the schools are opened today. it’s our responsibility to call governments’ attention to its duties to the state and its citizens; this we’ve done and there’s no going back.
“In spite of the government’s plan to blackmail ASUU for happening strike while coronavirus ravages the state , it’s instructive to place it on record that, the strike at that time in time was the foremost patriotic and pragmatic action for the Union to start . One would have thought that the govt would use the chance of the lockdown to deal with the problems in contention with ASUU. Surprisingly, the govt was carrying on as if the issues not exist. As we speak, the govt has not called ASUU for discussion.
“Nigerians should note that IPPIS, though not a part of our initial charter of demands, has been elevated to the status of the most issue by the govt . Even at that, the Union has met the Government’s challenge for ASUU to develop an alternate platform which will lookout of the peculiarities of the University system. to the present end, we’ve developed and presented UTAS well before the 18 months period that we promised while still addressing the matter of corruption as being touted by the govt .
“This platform which is more comprehensive and robust than IPPIS was developed by our team of experts completely using our resources. this is often another indication that speaks to the power of Nigerian academics to further solve societal problems if given the requisite funding and enabling environment.”