From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

 The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Niger Delta University (NDU), Amassoma has reprimanded federal lawmaker, Dr Steve Azaika representing Yenagoa/ Kolokuma/Opokuma federal constituency over false comments regarding the ongoing industrial action by university lecturers.

Azaiki who was one –time Pro- Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of NDU was quoted to have asked NDU ASUU to pull out of the “sympathy strike” with the national body.

However in a swift reaction NDU ASUU in a statement by its Chairman Prof Tonbara Kingdom and Dr Ebi Baraka, Secretary reiterated that though NDU is a state university, it is not on a sympathy strike adding that ASUU as a body is one as there is no federal or state ASUU.

The union, while calling on the public to disregard government propaganda stating that state universities are pulling out of the strike, lampooned Azaiki  who is a member of the House Committee on Tertiary Institution for stating that the issues over the 2009 agreement are affecting only Federal Universities.

“We are surprised that the Honourable member, who was the Pro-Chancellor of the Niger Delta University, does not know that the payment of academic staff in NDU and the revitalization fund that has been used to transform NDU are all products of the FG/ASUU 2009 Agreement. Members of ASUU NDU are embarrassed at such a statement coming from him who we expect to be knowledgeable on such matters. It was either a deliberate attempt by him to mislead the public or a demonstration of crass ignorance of the conditions of service he superintended over. Probably, the very fact that he opted for the House as opposed to serving a complete term of office may have foreclosed a proper understanding of the NDU conditions of service and the massive infrastructural transformation of the NDU landscape via proceeds of ASUU struggles, including the many who received M.Sc. and PhD scholarship funding through TETFund and the Revitalization fund that accrued to NDU.”

The union which debunked Azaiki’s claims that he “set up a system to address labour issues” said he superintended over the massive disengagement exercise, adding that it would be a “disservice to society and the great people of Bayelsa State if such false claims were allowed to spread and gain a foothold.”

It called on the lawmaker to demonstrate statesmanship by utilizing his position to attract development to the University as ASUU NDU has been doing from federal sources through active participation “in our common struggle for the survival of tertiary public education.”

“We therefore advise the Honorable member to use his wealth of experience as a former Pro-Chancellor, to convince members of his committee and the leadership of the National Assembly, who are the true representatives of Nigerian people to wake up to their responsibilities and carry out their functions of checking the activities of the executive arm, as it relates to the principles of collective bargaining as provided in our labour laws and ILO conventions. Anything short of this is failure on his part,” it added.




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Source: news