The Congress of University Academics (CONUA) requested that the Federal Government recognize and register the congress to liberalize university unions.
At a news conference in Abuja, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, the national coordinator of CONUA, stated that the liberalization of academic unions would put an end to the ongoing strikes at institutions.
He said that the liberalization would foster idea-sharing and healthy competition, as well as safeguard the interests of all parties involved.
He claimed that CONUA was prepared to make sure that ideas were being exchanged before a strike could be initiated.
Ideas are typically muddled, we have found throughout the years,” he remarked.
Sunmonu emphasized that since Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution guarantees freedom of association, there is nothing wrong with having two to four unions in universities.
He added that in April 2018, CONUA submitted an application to the Ministry of Labour and Employment for registration as a union. CONUA was founded by academics from various universities in February 2018.
He recalled that the minister had created a team to wrap up the evaluation of CONUA’s registration at a public meeting with CONUA delegates on November 19, 2020.
“The committee has since submitted its findings, as we are aware. As a result, we have been anticipating word from the authorities on our registration,” he stated.
“CONUA is not a frivolous union, but an assembly of innovative and daring academics with great ability to reverse the decline in university image,” stressed Sunmonu.
He claimed that any more delays in registering CONUA would amount to a violation of peoples’ basic rights.
Dr. Ernest Nwoke, the national publicity coordinator for CONUA, claimed that the ongoing strikes in colleges were caused by ASUU’s monopoly.
He emphasized that the only way to allow lecturers the freedom to join the unions of their choosing was to liberalize academic staff unions in universities.
“ASUU has had a monopoly in Nigerian universities for more than 40 years.
The liberalization of academic unions is needed more than ever, he argued, to put an end to strikes in universities.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), ASUU has been on strike for more than 1,417 days total since 1999, which equates to almost four years.
It is the sixth day of the current strike, which started on February 14.
Before sending its members back to lecture halls, the union is demanding that the Federal Government carry out commitments made to it in 2009.
The University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), a payment system created by universities to pay the salaries of academic employees, is also being demanded by the group.
The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which is used to pay salaries to all government employees, is preferred by the union over UTAS, according to the union.
ASUU demands both the release of academics’ delayed salary and the payment of promotion arrears.