The Academic Staff Union of Universities has insisted that it will not shift ground or contemplate returning to classes until its demands are met 100 per cent by the federal government. The Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria chapter Chairman of ASUU, Dr Muhammed Kabir Aliyu, stated this in an interview he granted LEADERSHIP Weekend in Zaria shortly after their congress meeting. According to Dr Aliyu, "the federal government has not shown any sign of sincerity in keeping to the agreement reached in 2009 and ASUU will only call off the strike once our demands are met by the federal government."
Aliyu said: "The issue at stakes is that the federal government is not sincere. The government is trying to re-negotiate what we have already negotiated and agreed with them. The union presented a demand in 2006, which led to the 2009 agreement. They (government) should implement what they have agreed upon. "Even the Vice President then, who is now the President of Nigeria, was involved. In fact, he read the agreement and was among those who advised the late President Yar'Adua to ask his team on the government side to sign the agreement. "So, it is that agreement again they want to change but that why ASUU is insisting on it. The strike is lingering because government is not sincere they are trying to re-negotiate or repudiate the agreement and ASUU will not agree to that."
On the statement credited to Senate President David Mark that those who signed the 2009 agreement on behalf of government were incompetent, Aliyu said: "Indirectly, the senate president is saying that the current Nigerian president is not competent and not just the Nigerian president, but all the vice chancellors that were there, all the pro-chancellors that were there, the executive secretary that was there, the minister of education's representative that was there, ministry of finance that was there, ministry of labour that was there, National University Commission that was there. So, what he is saying is that the whole government is not competent, and perhaps doesn't know its left from right. That is the implication of what the Senate president is saying". On the implication of the strike on the academic standard, Aliyu said: "Our strike is trying to even improve the system. We cannot continue to pretend that we are graduating good students. People know that our students are not competent enough to call themselves graduates, that is why ASUU is trying to address it. "So, the strike is not the problem; the cause of the strike is the problem. The strike has no negative effect directly, because the strike is trying to improve the system. Now that the government said they have given N100 billion naira to build more laboratories, libraries and the rest or buy equipment, that will improve the system."