Some Nigerian students have said the registration of the two new academic unions; the Congress of Nigerian University Academics and the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics is a threat to the Nigerian university system.
The PUNCH reported that last week, the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA.
However, the National Association of University Students, South West, insisted that CONUA and NAMDA would pose a greater threat to universities’ progress.
A statement signed by the NAUS Southwest Vice-President, Adesoji Oladimeji, said, “The decision of the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, to ignore the Academic Staff Union of Universities by presenting a certificate of registration to other rival academic unions is a mere distraction and the divide and conquer method will pose a great threat to the university community”.
Adesoji also added, “The legal process embarked on by the federal government is seen as a joke, abuse of office and an action to jeopardise negotiations with ASUU and not with the interest of student’s heart”.
He described the actions of Ngige as unprofessional and uncouth, saying it would jeopardise the negotiation process with ASUU.
Students and well-meaning Nigerians also took to their social media platforms to express their displeasure.
Our correspondent also spoke to students from different federal institutions.
Likewise, 200 level student of History at the University of Ibadan, Tijani Abdulkabeer, said, “CONUA can’t solve the issue of the ongoing industrial actions because they are just a faction of the academics and do not occupy up to one-third of the federal institutions in Nigeria and will also have the same issues that ASUU is currently facing now in the near future.”
A graduate of International Relations from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Damilola Adebowale, who was unable to go for his NYSC as a result of the ongoing strike, said freedom of association was a human right. However, added that the new union would have negative effects on students.
He said, ‘‘CONUA has always been in OAU and yet the school is on strike. The association has a lot of work to do to build their relevance and it is going to take years, not anytime soon.’’
Another 500-level student of Metallurgical and Material Engineering, University of Lagos, Toluwani Sopeju, said, ‘‘A new union is only possible if the demands of ASUU is met because the other unions can’t also function well without being paid unless the new unions have decided to work without being paid.’’