ASUU Strike: The Standard of Government Funded Universities

The Academic Staff University Union(ASUU) was established in 1978 to oversee the academic staff in all Federal and state universities in the country. The Union has a history of active struggles against the government, which they generally made known by embarking on strike actions. These actions have been happening for as far back as 1988.

During the military regime, in 1988, the Union organized a National strike to obtain fair wages and universities against military power. ASUU has been primarily fixated on the financing and revitalization of Nigerian public universities.

In 1999, after the nation turned into a vote-based country, ASUU embarked on its first equitable strike in 1999, which lasted for five months. Since 1999, the Union has been on strike actions for an aggregate time of three years. The Union has been consistent in the fight with the public authority over funding Nigerian universities, better working conditions, and reasonable wages, among different demands.

Each time the government and the Union meet, the government consistently vows to address their needs; however, the government doesn’t, which causes the ascent of another strike by the Union. This was the cause of the second-strike action after democracy.

In the wake of understanding during the last strike action with the government, the government had failed to actualize the deal, which incited the Union in 2002 to go on another strike, which lasted for just two weeks. 

In 2003, the Union had to embark on another strike for a half-year because the government failed to implement the previous agreement, which involved low university funding, the disparity in salary, and retirement age; this was the longest strike till the 2020 strike activity. The 2005 and 2006 strike activities lasted for two weeks and one week, respectively. 

The Union had strike actions in 2005, 2006, 2007 in light that the government failed to implement the previous agreement. The activities went on for 2weeks, one week, and 3months individually. With these steady strike actions and the reasons given, you would consistently contemplate whether the FG is ever bothered about the standard of education in Nigeria and does it ever honors its commitments in their various agreements with ASUU.

In 2007, ASUU went on strike for three months, which is a quarter of a year. In May 2008, it held one-week “warning strikes” to press a range of demands, including an improved salary scheme and reinstatement of 49 lecturers who were dismissed many years earlier. In 2009, following three months of strike actions, the Federal Government and the Union signed a memorandum of understanding, and the strike was called off. This 2009 ASUU/FG agreement became the reason for subsequent industrial actions.

In 2013, ASUU set out on another strike, which lasted for five months and 15days, this action, as indicated by ASUU, was centered mainly on funding and revitalization of Nigerian public universities.

The 2020 strike action started on March 23, 2020, and ASUU said the strike would possibly be suspended if the federal government pays their retained salaries and completes the negotiations of what prompted the strike. The ASUU noted that the federal government stopped paying the lecturers’ wages during the coronavirus lockdown when residents required funds for their other family unit upkeep. It took a significant level of mediation before the ASUU members were paid removed salaries for three months.

ASUU’s strike over the years has been a battle to reestablish the previous standards of government-funded universities and to address the infrastructural rot and shortfall in the Nigerian institutions.

Damilola Oluwasanmi

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