In further defiance of the Federal Government’s order of resumption, the striking university lecturers, under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), have said that only a signed agreement would make them resume teaching.
The academic body has insisted that it would not obey the government directive to resume until the FG’s promises to provide adequate funding were evidenced in writing and signed.
The lecturers also said that having a signed agreement within their grasp would provide them enough leverage in case they needed it for future reference.
The National Treasurer of the union, Dr Ademola Aremu, disclosed this while speaking with our correspondent on telephone on Sunday.
Aremu said there can not be any meaningful progress until the government responds to the letter, stressing that ASUU’s request was the collective decision of members across the country and not the decision of the national leadership.
The unionist waved aside the announcement by the Federal Government that it had deposited a large sum of money to meet the demand of ASUU with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said the proper way of communication with the union should be through a letter confirming the signing of the new agreement it reached with the lecturers.
Describing government’s announcement as a mark of insincerity, Aremu said that the only way it can take government seriously on the issue is a letter confirming the signing of the agreement.
He said: “When we finished negotiation with the President, we promised to go and brief our members and communicate the popular decision of the union to his office. That was exactly what we did. The collective decision of members was that the government should put its proposal in black and white and sign it properly.
“So, if government wants to communicate with us, it should simply respond to the letter, not announcing through the media that certain amount of money was already with the CBN. That is not proper. We don’t believe that is a fair treatment.”
On the ultimatum, Aremu said it was a threat that can not intimidate any lecturer that is worth his salt.
“Any academic that is not an intellect work, that is actually an intellectual will not be intimidated by the threat. Nobody can humiliate you when you are fighting a just cause.” He said.
—Ynaija and Nigerianeye