The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked members to join the nationwide strike declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria.
Here’s all we know about the situation that has raised anxiety among students.
On Monday, November 13, the leadership of the NLC and TUC directed members to withdraw their services nationwide from midnight.
Festus Osifo, TUC president, informed journalists of the planned industrial action in Abuja on the same day. According to him, the strike will continue until “government at all levels wake up to their responsibility.”
The strike is also connected to the November 1 alleged battering of NLC president, Joe Ajaero, during a labour protest in Imo state. Benson Upah, NLC’s Head of Information, told the press that Ajaero was arrested by the police ahead of the state-wide protest to highlight the plights of workers in Imo.
At a press conference in Abuja on Friday, November 10, Ajaero recounted his ordeal at the hands of police officers.
“I can’t explain the beating I received. They tied my hands and dragged me on the floor like a common criminal. I am not even a card-carrying member of any political party as alleged.”
However, Imo Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Okoye Henry told a different account of the story. According to Henry, the NLC president was taken into protective custody following a mob attack that stemmed from protesters trying to shut down areas of essential services.
“Upon receiving this report, the Imo Police Command swiftly deployed police operatives to the scene where the Officer in Charge exercised his operational discretion by taking the NLC President into protective custody at the State Command Headquarters to ensure the protection of his life and that he was not lynched in the scuffle that followed,” he said.
During the November 3 press briefing in Abuja, the NLC rolled out a six-point demand to the federal government including the investigation and redeployment of Imo commissioner of police, Mohammed Barde, and removal of officers believed to be involved in the attack against Ajaero.
The NLC also demanded a thorough examination of Ajaero to ascertain the level of physical and psychological injuries inflicted on him.
Why is ASUU involved?
On Monday evening, November 13, President of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, directed its members to join the NLC and TUC’s industrial action.
In a letter sent to all the union zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons of the union, Osodeke wrote:
“The Nigeria Labour Congress at a Joint National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC and TUC directed all affiliate Unions to commence withdrawal of services with effect from 12:00 midnight today 13th November 2023.
“As an affiliate of NLC, all members of our union are hereby directed to join this action of NLC to protect the interest of Nigerian workers and the leadership of the union. Zonal coordinators and branch chairpersons should immediately mobilise our members to participate in the action.”
How are Nigerians reacting?
News of ASUU joining the NLC and TUC’s strike has since stirred reactions from concerned Nigerians and students.
How long was the last ASUU strike?
ASUU’s last strike lasted eight months. The union embarked on the strike on February 14, 2022, to press home its demands from the FG. The union’s demands included the release of revitalisation funds for universities, the release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
It called off the strike on October 17, 2022, following an order from the industrial court.