ASUU Strike: ASUU accuses FG of intimidation and blackmail

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the federal government of resorting to acts of intimidation and blackmail in its efforts to frustrate and break the ranks of the country's universities' academic staff, whose indefinite strike was over eight weeks old.

This is even as ASUU vowed to deal with blacklegs that could emerge among its members who the government might recruit in its alleged desperate effort to divide the union and intimidate it into abandoning the ongoing nation-wide industrial action.

In a joint statement presented by its zonal coordinator, of the Benin Zone of ASUU, Dr. Sunny O. Ighalo, said: "The strike has indeed moved into a critical phase where government is now applying the instrument of intimidation and blackmail and other gimmicks to undermine the struggle.

"The purported disbursement of the N130 billion to universities arising from the meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors was aimed at breaking our ranks and is not acceptable to our union."

It noted that Nigeria was rich enough to afford what the union asked for based on the universities’ 'Needs Assessment Report', which actually put the financial resources required to overhaul the nation's university system at N1.5 trillion.

"We believe Nigeria has the resources needed to revitalise our universities and save the nation the disgrace of having to send our children to less endowed countries for university education."

"While N500 billion minimum is expected, going by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of January 2012 for the revitalisation of universities, government claimed that it distributed N100 billion (20 per cent) to the universities," it further said.

The body noted that it would not compromise on the indefinite strike, saying "the federal government should demonstrate integrity" and honour to the letter the agreement it entered into without duress. "What makes a person or an organisation - including governments - honourable is honouring an agreement freely made".

The union leaders swore to continue the strike and advised the federal government to consider returning to the negotiation table with ASUU on how to fulfill the extant agreement signed between it and the union.