The newly registered Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) has appealed to the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), and the Federal Government to reach an “amicable agreement” so that students of public universities can return to the classrooms.
CONUA National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, October 5, 2022.
“We’ve not been on strike. We just appeal to the Federal Government and our sister union (ASUU) to reach an amicable agreement; so that the universities can be open so that we can go back to doing our teachings,” Sunmonu said.
The official also called for collaborative engagement among all the registered academic unions on issues of concern.
As talks between ASUU and the Federal Government broke down amid the over seven-month strike by ASUU; the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, registered two factional academic unions; CONUA and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
The minister explained that the two bodies will exist alongside ASUU; adding that the two associations will enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to other academic unions in the tertiary education system.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, over unpaid allowances, poor welfare; as well as payment software, among others.
Sunmonu is a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in Osun State, South-West Nigeria.
He said CONUA was formed in 2018 after a fallout with the ASUU branch in the university over “constitutional violations” and the selection of a vice-chancellor.
According to him, CONUA first filed an application for registration in April 2018; adding that the union has members in 17 universities in the country.
“We expect to have more members with the recognition and registration by the Federal Government,” he said, adding that CONUA has over 600 members in OAU alone.
Meanwhile, Sunmonu, who insisted that CONUA members have not been on strike, said his members have not been to the classrooms as students were forced out of campuses.
“CONUA as an organisation has not been on strike. There has been no time that a strike was declared,” he said.