The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says fear of another #EndSARS protest in the country forced the federal government to resume negotiation with its members over the lingering strike.
In March, the union had embarked on an indefinite strike, citing the federal government’s failure to meet its demands.
The industrial action was on the back of disagreement with the government over issues on the revitalisation of universities and earned academic allowance.
Other issues raised by the union had included the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as well as funding of universities.
Addressing journalists at the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) on Friday, Olu Olufayo, ASUU coordinator for Akure zone, accused the federal government of insincerity.
He wondered why the federal government had to wait till the unrest triggered by the recent protest aimed at ending police brutality before resuming negotiation with the union.
Olufayo also accused the federal government of attempting to blackmail, adding that the union will not bow to pressure until its demands are met.
“Our students have stayed at home for too long; they have been at home for almost a year now. Don’t forget we didn’t send them home. We embarked on strike before the advent of coronavirus. Don’t forget #EndSARS protests. It was at that point that the government realised that students should not have been idle,” he said.
“So, that must have made the government ask us to resume negotiation. All through the period coronavirus was strong, we were not called for negotiation.
“But now, government wants us to return to class and engage the students. If we return to class now, what are we going to do there? I can’t teach when I don’t have money to feed myself.
“Also, during #EndSARS protest, the youths also said they wanted to end bad governance. Students in universities in Kwara State have given the government two weeks ultimatum to resolve issues with ASUU and reopen schools, otherwise they would return to the streets.
“They must have scared government and they told us to return to the classroom. But how can we resume without being paid?”
TheCable had reported how another meeting between the federal government and ASUU on Wednesday ended in deadlock.