“Even if Universities are Opened Today, our Strike Will Continue” – ASUU

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Wednesday said it will not resume academic activities until its demands for embarking on industrial action are met before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking with reporters in Ilorin, Coordinator, Ibadan zone of ASUU Prof Ade Adejumo said “even if universities are opened today, our strike which was predicated on Government’s readiness to honour its memorandum of agreement (MOA) with us continues.

“It is our responsibility to call the government’s attention to its duties to the nation and its citizens, this we have done and there is no going back.

He said that “throwing schools open in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is an open invitation to a tragic explosion of the scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak!”

Adejumo noted that there have been agitations from some quarters for the government to reopen schools, especially by proprietors of private universities, saying that the lives of students should not be endangered for pecuniary gains.

“Has the Nigerian government met the NCDC criteria on COVID- 19 protocol in our institutions? Must we endanger the lives of our children for pecuniary gains? Should the primary issue on life and death be used on profit matter? COVID-19 is still very much with us. It is in recognition of this fact that the government itself has rolled out certain conditions to be met before schools are reopened.

“How many of our public institutions can confidently vouch for the safety of our children given the available facilities such as: provision of running water for handwashing; social distancing among students; the use of recommended face masks and shields, which are key components of NCDC protocols? A situation where a room meant for four now houses 20 students cannot be said to be social-distancing compliant.

Our position, as a responsible Union on all these is that; throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak! When this happens, Nigerians will not say that they were never warned,” he said.

The ASUU also said that members of the union would not resume work should the government reopen universities, saying, “Our strike action which was predicated on governments’ readiness to honour its MOA with us continues, even if the universities are opened today. It is our responsibility to call governments’ attention to its duties to the nation and its citizens; this we have done and there is no going back.

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