Strike: UniAbuja ASUU divides polirized - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Thursday, May 2, 2024

Strike: UniAbuja ASUU divides polirized


Lecturers at the University of Abuja  were divided following an indefinite strike declared by the branch's Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

UniAbuja ASUU Chairman, Dr. Sylvester Ugoh, had earlier announced commencement of an indefinite strike to press home some demands of the union.

Key among the demands is the choice of the new vice chancellor, which the union said must be in line with the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Act 1993 (as amended). 

The current vice chancellor,Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah's tenure is coming to an end next month. 

The union which announced its decision to proceed  on the strike at the end of its congress, held at the permanent site of the institution, alleged that there were surreptitious moves by the federal government to impose a vice chancellor on the school without through due process. 

The union said the position of the vice chancellor, advertised in a national daily on March 15, 2024, was illegal, given that the school's governing council which is responsible for such role, was sidelined. 

Ugoh,who read the text of the union's congress,noted that the Universities Miscellaneous Provision Act 1993, 2003 and 2012 (Section 3, subsections 1 and 2), respectively place such role on the shoulder of universities' governing councils.

He said: “The university administration went ahead to place advertorial in the national dailies for the position of a vice chancellor,despite the earlier warning by the union and drawing its attention that it should not be done as it is an act of illegality and they university went ahead to do it and we requesting that the advert be withdrawn.

“The second is the refusal of the university administration to conduct elections in to the office of deans of faculties and for the post of Provost of College of Health Sciences. These are issues that have been with the administration of the university over time because the act of the university stipulates that position of deans and provost is by election but that has not been done and some of those acting have been there for more than two years and the university has refused to do what is lawful,” he said.

"Another issue according to him is that of micro finance that is in formation, saying, in 2017, the governing council gave ASUU a position to be a member of the board.

“We had our investments, which we paid over N4 million there from 2017 and the last letter we got from university administration was that we have been removed as shareholders and we don’t have a place in the board of directors and we feel it is against what the governing council had earlier communicated to the union."

Ugoh also disclosed that part of the reason for the strike is the issue of massive employment of staff without due process.

He said the act made it clear that on employment, “you have to advertise it on the national daily and it can only be done by the governing council but in the last couple of months, the current administration has employed not less than 300 staff into the university without due process and we feel it is an act of illegality , it is impunity, not giving regards to any law."

He spoke further:“Also, the issue of promoting exercise, it is the council that promotes and it is not in place and the university has gone ahead to constitute interim team, which is nowhere in our act to promote staff and for us it is act of lawlessness and we feel that should not be allowed to continue.

“We cannot embark on strike without the trustees and principal officers of ASUU giving the permission, so having fulfill that process they gave us permission to proceeds on an indefinite, comprehensive and total strike and that is why we declared the strike,” he said.

He however urged the federal government to constitute the governing councils for universities as their absent is creating a lot of problems in the university system.

Ugoh had explained that the strike became necessary, given the university's refusal to conduct elections for the office of the deans of faculties and the Provost, College of Health Sciences.

He accused the university of carrying out promotion of some staff without following due process.

Other reasons for the strike, according to him,was the,"Removal of ASUU University of Abuja from shareholder and member board of directors of the University of Abuja Micro Finance Bank and massive employment of staff without following due process."

But also addressing the media, shortly after Ugoh's faction rounded off, a faction of the union which referred to itself as "Anti-strike ASUU Members", said they were not part of the strike and called on lecturers, students and the public to disregard the pronouncement by the earlier group.

The factional ASUU, led by the Dean and former convener, ASUU National Political Committee, Dr. Abubakar Kari and the ex-Nigeria Ambassador to Japan who doubles as Head of Department,HOD, Agric Engineering, University of Abuja, Prof. M. Y. Gana, asked the public to disregard Ugoh's pronouncement. 

The faction said its members were not joining any strike declared by anybody and asked students and staff to disregard Ugoh's action. 

Dr. Abubakar Kari said:"The cabal dictating to Dr. Sylvanus -led local ASUU, desperately wanted a strike to satisfy their personal interest but never the larger interest of ASUU members and the university of Abuja.

"Members of ASUU here, standing for several other members with likeminds but unavoidably absent, rise to reassure students, parents and members of the public that we will protect the sanctity of the University of Abuja's robust academic calendar and continue to work for continuous opening of the university operations.

"We vehemently demand that ASUU must work for ASUU and not a hidden cabal out to take the university of Abuja back to the inglorious yesteryears. 

"A decision to go on an indefinite strike without at any point, seeking members of ASUU's vote for, or against, is absolutely not the ASUU procedure for calling strike. 

"So, the so-called strike remains unrepresentative of the larger members of ASUU and cannot stand."

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