Two civil societies organisations: Nigerian Project Initiative and Initiative to Save Democracy, have vowed to mobilise other CSOs for a showdown with the Academic Staff Union of Universities over its decision to shut lecture halls until its demand for payment of six months salaries while its members were on strike is accepted by the Federal Government.
The CSOs stated their position in a joint statement in which they expressed outrage on the demand of the union.
“ASUU has lost it this time and we dare say that if by this week that ASUU sticks on to its selfish demands, we will be compelled to lay siege to ASUU offices across the country, given that all men of good conscience are against ASUU,” Mohammed Umar Salihu, Chairman of NPI, and Akinloye James, ISD Chairman, said in the statement.
The statement said: “The demand by ASUU to be paid for the months its members were on strike is hollow, self-centred and vexatious. It is particularly provoking that other unions in the academic community pursuing almost the same goals have decided to go back to work but ASUU members rather than follow suit are demanding payment for work that they did not do.
“Which employer does that? If for example the government were to heed them, would that not be a recipe for disaster as NASU and SSANU which have agreed to go back to work would now resort to strike to demand the same salaries that they forfeited during the strike?
“It is a rule in industrial relations that unions keep a strike fund and ASUU through its president has admitted that they have been paying their union members. So, it is thus apparent that ASUU by its demand is now seeking double pay for its members for work not done.
“For the sake of our students who have missed out on account of the strike, we expect ASUU to rush back to work at this time and look forward towards repairing the damage that has been done through the strike instead of this resort to financial blackmail.”