Tony Eyang, Chairman of the University Of Calabar Academic Staff Union Of Universities, ASUU, has declared that the union will not surrender until government does the needful by addressing the union’s demands.
Eyang said on Thursday in Calabar that though it is regrettable that the union is taking such a stand but it is in the interest of education which has been subjected to untold neglect by successive governments in the country.
“We are avowed to our responsibility to the future of this country; it is regrettable that over and over again we get to this point but what we have resolved to do is that government does the needful and we will not surrender even if it means our embarking on a total and indefinite strike for years”.
He said since the inception of the Buhari administration, ASUU has been making efforts to meet with the President, Minster of Education and the National Assembly to present to them a firsthand view of what is going on in the education sector but such efforts have not yielded results.
“When the present government came into office, ASUU exercised a lot of patience, a lot of understating as a form a support to the government and we indicated intention to have an audience with the President who is the visitor to all the federal universities, the Minister of Education and the National Assembly so as to make government see the need to address these pending issues but that has not been granted up till now”.
Government, the ASUU Chairman stated has not indicated any intention to address any of the issues being agitated by the union including those that do not involve money like the low subvention to the universities and the Treasury Single Account which are stifling the universities and have turned the lecturers to beggars as salaries are not paid in full for several months.
‘There is a new form of slavery where university teachers are not given what they are entitled to which implies that the federal government has unilaterally reached a decision to reduce the entitlement of academic staff of universities which of course is against the labour law”.
He said in the past ten months because the subventions to the universities have fallen, it has increasingly made the universities unable to pay the full entitlement of its workers. In the University of Calabar for example, what we are being paid is 90% of our salaries since February 2016”.
He said the refusal of government to implement the 2009 Memorandum of Understanding with ASUU is a dark cloud hanging over the university systems in Nigeria.