The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Friday, accused the Federal Government of employing blackmail to force the striking lecturers back to school in order to avert another #EndSARS protest in the country by idle youths.
ASUU, however, stated that nothing can make it put an end to the industrial action embarked upon by the union in March except its demands are met and salaries of its members fully paid.
This was made known by the ASUU Akure Zone cordinator, Prof Olu Olufayo of the union while addressing newsmen at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
He accused the FG of stopping negotiations with the lecturers until the #EndSARS protests erupted in the country.
ASUU, had on March 23, declared an indefinite strike over the inability of the government to fulfill promises made to the union and agreements signed, some of which were as far back as 2009.
It also insists on not joining the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform for the payment of salaries but rather provided an alternative platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which it urged the Federal Government to adopt for the universities.
Olufayo questioned what the lecturers would do in the classrooms if they returned to work as the FG wants.
He said, “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.
“So, that must have made the government to 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. That must have scared government and they told us to return to the classroom. But how can we resume without being paid?”