A meeting of the National Executive Council of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities started in Abuja on Sunday.
The union is expected to take a final decision on whether to continue its industrial action that entered the 196th day on Monday (today) at the meeting holding at its national headquarters at the University of Abuja.
As of the time of filing this report on Sunday evening, the meeting was still ongoing amidst anxiety that the union may extend the strike based on the outcomes of the meetings of most of its branches held last week.
ASUU had declared the commencement of a strike on Monday, February 14, 2022, at the University of Lagos.
A member of the NEC, who did not want his name in print because he is not the union’s spokesman, told newsmen in Abuja that most local congresses voted for strike extension.
“We expect nothing less. Most of the congresses voted for an indefinite strike. The NEC takes decisions based on the reports from branches,” he said.
Another member said, “I can confidently tell you that the majority of ASUU branches across the country voted for an indefinite strike. Over 90% voted for an indefinite strike. “’
The spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, in an interview with newsmen, explained that the government had taken all possible steps to end the strike.
He said, “As regards the next steps, the government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonise the IPPIS, UTAS, and UP3. This will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonise all the technical peculiarities.
“If you bring some demands and almost 80% have been attended to, there is no need to drag the strike anymore.
“It is unreasonable for the strike to be lingering seeing as the government has worked towards fulfilling most of the demands.”
Meanwhile, the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) on Sunday blamed the Federal Government’s disdain for education as the reason for the lingering industrial action by ASUU.
In a statement titled, “FG’s hollow hubris prolonging ASUU strike,” the NAS leader, Abiola Owoaje, described the stand of the Federal Government as “ill-conceived, reckless, and insensitive to the plight of students, parents, the university system, and Nigeria as a country.”
Owoaje said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s aloofness on critical issues such as the ASUU strike is disappointing. His ministers, taking a cue from him, have treated the issues raised by ASUU with levity and utmost contempt.