• Registration of two new unions inconsequential to ASUU – Osodeke
Tayo Busayo, Abuja
In a bid to whittle the powers of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the federal government on Tuesday registered two unions in the university system.
The unions are the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, explained that the two bodies will exist along aside ASUU.
After the approval, the two bodies will operate in parallel with ASUU and break the monopoly of academic unionism in the ivory towers.
CONUA had in 2018 applied for registration as a trade union at the Ministry of Labour and Employment while the Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, in 2020 set up a ministerial committee to look into the application.
DAILY COURIER gathered that the new congress already has branches in Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State; University of Benin; Federal University, Lokoja; Federal University, Oye Ekiti; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and University of Jos, among others.
A delegation of both National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) were at the headquarters of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja for a courtesy call, where the group’s certificate of registration was presented.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022 as lecturers of public universities protest unpaid allowances and demand better welfare package from the Federal Government.
In August, the union declared a “total and indefinite” extension of its industrial action, noting that the government has failed to satisfactorily meets its demands.
The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.
One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.
But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Reacting to the development, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in a terse statement on its Facebook page wrote: “Our Rival Union CONUA Nigeria Got Registered Today! FG Hypocrite!”
The statement was greeted with a comical reply by CONUA Nigeria: “You Didn’t see us Coming 😎”
Both staff and students have been divided on the latest development in the university.
Registration of two new unions inconsequential to ASUU – Osodeke
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has reacted to the registration of two new tertiary education unions by the Federal Government.
In a chat with Vanguard newspaper, National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the action was inconsequential to ASUU as an association.
“That does not in any way affect us,” he said. “We are a disciplined and focused union and we know what we are doing and what we are after. Let them register as many unions as they like. That is inconsequential as far as we are concerned. We are not also in any way threatened. The sky is big enough for birds to fly.
“We know our members, we know our strength and we also know what our vision and mission are. Our members are not saboteurs or bootlickers . Our struggle is for a better educational system in the country. If the system is good, all of us will benefit and it is not only ASUU members’ children and wards that are going to benefit from improved funding and the provision of better facilities in our institutions.”