The management of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the institution are currently playing hide-and-seek with the directive by the Minister of Education for the striking lecturers to resume teaching or be sacked.
Also, the local chapter of the union is however distributing relief materials to its members to cushion the effect of the lack of payment of salary for the past five months, while there are pressures on some of the lecturers from their family members to respond positively to the government ultimatum.
When The Nation visited the institution on Wednesday, the school was still empty as the lecturers were yet to comply with the directive, while the university was yet to issue a circular directing the resumption of lectures by the students.
It was gathered that the University Governing Council has been meeting since Monday to find a common ground and an amicable resolution of the impasse.
A highly placed source close to the Council revealed that the council is trying to ensure that the issue is resolved amicably so that we will not have another strike locally when the national strike is called off.
The source said “you see, majority of those in the Governing Council are elected members from the Senate and the Congregation. Ordinarily, those people are not supposed to attend the meeting as long as the strike is on. But ASUU looked the other way so that they will attend the meeting.
“They met on Monday and could not reach any resolution and had to adjourn. The meeting has since resume. But I want to say that they are being careful in carrying out the directive because they are aware of the impact it will have.
“In any case, the school was never closed. Students are enjoying all the privileges they are supposed to enjoy except the absence of lectures. But the question is, who will bring the lecturers to come and teach?
“Even if the school was closed, the only body that is empowered by law to reopen the school is the Senate of the University. In view of the period that has been wasted, a new calendar has to be drawn up and it is the Senate that will do that and members of the Senate are members of ASUU. So, who will draw up that calendar?
“But we are looking forward to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. But the right thing should be done and done fast. I also want to blame ASUU for keeping quiet and not properly explaining the current issue concerning their meeting with the President to the Nigerian people”.
However, the local branch of the union has asked their members to remain resolute and committed to the strike to its logical conclusion and not to resume any academic activity or sign any register that may be opened by the university management.
In their resolution signed by its Chairman, Dr. Kabiru Aliyu at the end of its congress, the branch condemn the threat and intimidation by the government through the Supervising Minister of Education, Nelsom Wike to sack all academic staff and advertise their positions if they failed to return to work by December 4, 2013.
Dr. Aliyu however confirmed that the branch was distributing relief material such as rice, semovita, vegetable oil and cash ranging from between N20,000 to N50,000 to its members.
He noted that the union was not unaware of the pressure from family members on the striking lecturers to resume work in accordance with the government directive, “we are aware of that. But I can assure you that the number is negligible and not enough to have any impact on us.
“However, I am not sure that any register will be opened here. But even if they did, we are also aware that some people will go and sign. But that will not help the situation”.