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Varsities Divided over ASUU Strike

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Members  of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU)  are divided over their participation in an indefinite nationwide strike ordered by the union.
While the strike, which began on Monday, has paralysed academic activities on some campuses, lecturers in other universities have refused to boycott work in compliance with the union’s directive.
At the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), the local chapter of the union said it would not take part in the strike.
The strike, however,  has caused a rift among lecturers at the  Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka as some of them have complied with the order, while others said they would not join in the industrial action until students finish their ongoing second semester examinations.
The Chairman, UNILORIN chapter of ASUU, Professor Wahab Egbewole,  Wednesday defended the members’ decision not to take part in the strike.
He said the local chapter of the union  was not carried along in the decision that led to the strike.
Egbewole, while addressing  journalists in Ilorin, said: "We will not be part of the ongoing nationwide strike being embarked on by some branches of ASUU because we have not been consulted or informed about the strike.
"Its important to note that before a union will go on strike, there is the need for consultation. Up till now, I have not been informed in any way or form of communication and I sincerely believe that other universities who are participating in the strike did get the directive on the pages of newspapers.
“I have said it severally at our congresses that we are not averse  to a positive working relationship with the ASUU national headquarters, we have made several efforts towards this development which were rebuffed."
He, however, expressed the belief that strike was not the solution to any disagreement between the union  and the federal government.
A visit by THISDAY to the campus of the university revealed that  academic activities were going on unhindered.
The rain semester  examinations, which began three weeks ago, were going on undisrupted,  as students were seen in their halls writing their examinations without any hindrance.
But while some lecturers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka joined the strike, others said they would not until the students have finished their examinations.
The institution’s ASUU Wednesday officially joined other colleagues nationwide in the strike, but a faction of the union in the institution, which goes by the name ‘ASUU NAU Progressives’, said it would not join the strike until after the examinations that have been slated to start on July 8.
At its monthly general congress yesterday, moderated by the NAU ASUU Chairman, Prof. Ike Odimegwu, the congress adopted to join the nationwide strike and warned that any form of academic activities in the institution would be sanctioned.
He said lectures held in NAU on Monday and Tuesday because the branch was yet to hold its congress to take a resolution on the strike.
But in swift reaction, the ASUU NAU Progressives, led by Prof Maduabuchi Dukor, and which claimed to have the support of  majority of the academic staff in the institution, said it would not join in the strike.
He called on the federal government to look into the demands of ASUU and meet them to avoid punishing students and parents unjustly.
Dukor told journalists that his group might consider joining the strike, after students had finished their examinations.
He said: “We are speaking for the school, and we have held consultations and arrived at the conclusion that we will not be part of the strike. Our reason is that our students have started the second semester examination, and to join in the strike will amount to a disservice to parents, students and other persons in the university. Besides, this examination is vital for national and international accreditation of some faculties in out university, and without it we may fail.”
But at the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto the local chapter of ASUU  had joined the strike and suspended the first semester examination.
Addressing journalists in Sokoto Wednesday,  the university ASUU Chairman, Dr. Faruk Mohammed Tambuwal, said the university management decided to adhere to the directive  of the national body of the union by suspending the examinations.
He explained that the local branch of ASUU had no option than to suspend the first semester examinations to avoid the wrath of the national body.
"As intellectuals, we cannot fold our arms and allow the university system to deteriorate. We are not ready to beg anybody, we are not ready to be subservient and be enslaved  in our country.
"So  this strike is total and indefinite and we will continue with it until a truce is reached between ASUU and the federal government," Tambuwal added

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