…Urges them to brace up for more struggle

From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) president, Mr. Emmanuel Osodeke has assured his members that their 8-month withheld salary arrears arising from the Federal Government’s no-work, no-pay policy will be paid.

Osodeke gave the assurances in Nsukka on Wednesday while addressing ASUU members at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) during the branch’s Seminar and Foundation Laying Stone of the UNN-ASUU Branch Secretariat Complex.

He said that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union will not relent until the salary arrears of their members are fully paid as well as ensure that all their demands are met,  that was even as he urged members to prepare for more struggle.

“The reason government and their agents have continued to create problems and make attempts to destabilize ASUU is that they are not comfortable that we are united and always speak with one voice.

“I’m happy that every attempt by the government to create disunity in ASUU to prevent paying the withheld salaries failed.

“This is the reason why I am assuring you that very soon, your 8-months withheld salaries will be paid because we are using all legitimate means to achieve this,” he said.

Speaking further Osodeke noted that this was not the first time government would withhold the salaries of members because the union embarked on a nationwide strike.

He recalled that government had in past paid withheld salaries, noting that 2022 own would not be an exception.

The ASUU President who had earlier laid the foundation stone of the UNN branch secretariat before the seminar commended the UNN-ASUU for the secretariat project.

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“I commend Dr. Christian Opata, UNN-ASUU chairman, and his members for the magnificent secretariat, which when completed would be one of the biggest ASUU secretariats in the country.

“I also commend Opata whose administration brought back ASUU -UNN to the mainstream of the union.

“It is my prayer that the secretariat will be completed before the end of this year,” he said.

Speaking on the theme of the seminar “The Strength of the Union and Its Principles” Prof  Nasir Fagge, who was ASUU national President between 2012 and 2016 urged members to understand the principles of ASUU which he said is what made the union strong in every circumstance.

Fagge said if every member of the union understood the principles every strategy by the government in power to cause problems among members would fail adding that the withheld salaries were government deliberate strategy to weaken the strength of the union.

“If not why has government failed to recognize the non-victimization clause which has been part of our negotiation with government in the past,” he said.

Earlier in a remark, Comrade Christian Opata, chairman ASUU UNN branch commended Osodeke for visiting their branch as well as Prof Charles Igwe the UNN Vice Chancellor for approving the land for the sitting of the secretariat.

“We wish to specifically thank our Comrade President, Prof Osodeke, and, his team for honoring our invitation and laying the foundation of our Secretariat Complex.

“We also commend our amiable VC, Prof Igwe, and his management team for challenging the branch leadership to build a secretariat by granting our request for a parcel of land for such purpose and for urging us to show effective occupation of the approved site after the approval.

“Though long and overdue, especially given our age and history in the union, the branch sees today’s event as a sign of showing a fresh and undiluted commitment to the affairs of our union,” he said.

Opata also thanked the branch members for showing commitment to the union, especially in their trying times, assuring them the ASUU-UNN branch leadership will remain resolute in the interest of their members.