LECTURERS of the Lagos State University, LASU, on Wednesday complied with the one-week nationwide warning strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, just as the union’s chapter in the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Bauchi, on Wednesday joined other chapters to embark on the warning strike to press for their demands. ASUU chairman in LASU, Dr Isaac Oyewunmi told our correspondent in Lagos that academic activities in the university had been paralysed, noting that LASU lecturers’ compliance with the strike directive was total. He said that the chapter held a congress on Tuesday to discuss the strike, and that a notice was sent to its members and the university management on the commencement of the action. “There is no report of any infraction within the chapter; all members have complied as directed by the national body,” the chairman said. Miss Stella Nwachukwu, a student of the university’s Department of Microbiology, told NAN that the strike was unfortunate, adding that it would affect students. Nwachukwu urged the federal government to meet with ASUU leaders and honour the agreement it had with the union in 2009 to stop the strike. ASUU had declared the warning strike on Tuesday to press home its demand for implementation of an agreement it reached with the federal government in 2009. Meanwhile, Mr Adamu Babayo, ASUU’s chairman in ATBU, told newsmen in Bauchi that the strike followed the decisions arrived at by the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, at its meeting on Saturday in Abuja. Babayo said part of the union’s grievances included the nonrevitalisation of the nation’s universities’ autonomy and shortfall in staff salaries; also the issues of staff primary schools and the non-implementation of the agreement it reached with the government in 2009 among their grievances. Others, according to him, are lack of registration of Universities Pension Company, NUPECO, and the non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances. He said the Federal Budget Office had in January slashed the salaries of its members by six percent, and that the union paid N1billion for registration of its new pension scheme as demanded by the government but was refused registration. Babayo added that the union had refused to join the contributory pension scheme following malpractices witnessed during the 2015 general elections, when money realised was allegedly used to fund election campaigns. He said the union was not comfortable with the current scheme because some of its members died in active service while their contributions disappeared, hence the delay in payment of allowances. The chairman also kicked against the bill on JAMB currently being debated at the National Assembly, saying “you cannot set rules for a body that you do not supervise. It is the right of the universities and not of JAMB to conduct post-JAMB screenings and other admission policies for candidates seeking provisional admissions.”
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