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Monday, November 4, 2013

ASUU Strike: No amount of forceful opening of Universities will end the Strike

ASUU was reacting to reports that the
President had directed the reopening of
universities with or without ASUU.
Its Chairman at the University of
Calabar (UNICAL), Dr James Okpiliya,
spoke yesterday with journalist in
Calabar, the Cross River State, on the
matter.
He said: "The President has no right to
reopen schools. In the first place, he
did not close the schools. ASUU also
did not close the schools. If he likes,
let him direct the vice chancellors to
reopen the universities. But the issue is
that academics will not return to the
classrooms until all the issues in the
2009 agreement as well as the
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
between the union and the Federal
Government are sufficiently
implemented.
"In the military era, the Head of State
never used force to resolve its impasse
with the union; not now, when we are
in a democracy. If he opens the
schools, he can come and teach in the
universities. If he uses brute force, as
it is rumoured, he can as well return
to the classroom to teach.
"I advise him to sit down sincerely
with the leadership of ASUU with a
view to resolving the knotty issues
in the implementation of the 2009
agreement and the MoU. These are
the main issues in contention in
the current struggle.
"I believe Mr President has not been
adequately briefed; that is why he has
been insinuating that the strike is
political. The meeting should, therefore,
afford him the opportunity to hear
from ASUU himself with a view to
resolving the issues.
"Remember the strike itself would not
have been avoidable if those who
midwifed the negotiation of this
agreement had it captured in the
previous budgets. But because they
failed to put the financial implication of
this agreement in the budget since
2009, we find ourselves here today.
"The only thing that can bring
about normalcy is when the issues
in contention are resolved."
The ASUU has said no amount of
threat of forceful reopening of
universities will end its nationwide
strike.
The union said the government's threat
would only be counter-productive
rather than achieve the intended goal.

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