THE Federal Government has not fully met the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the union’s president Emmanuel Osodeke said hours after suspending its eight-month-old strike Friday morning.
The ICIR reports that another strike looms except the union and the government agree on the demands.
The cause of the lecturers’ strike, which began on February 14 and was suspended today, October 14, was an agreement the government reached with the union but failed to implement.
On September 3, The ICIR reported how the union had gone on strike for 628 days under President Muhammadu Buhari alone over the government’s failure to implement the agreement, among other demands.
ASUU’s strike under Buhari, who assumed office on May 29, 2015, hits 669 days today, when the latest industrial action was suspended. The union has downed tools under the President more than any of his predecessors.
ASUU was on strike for 397 days under former President Goodluck Jonathan, who took over from the late President Umar Yar’ Adua, whose administration had the unimplemented pact with the lecturers in 2009.
The nation’s public universities have constantly been shut under successive governments since the agreement was reached with the union but remains unfulfilled.
This newspaper reported earlier today how the union suspended its latest strike after its leaders met in Abuja.
Both ASUU and the presidency are yet to comment on whether the government would pay the lecturers for the eight months that the strike lasted.
The pronouncement of “no work, no pay” by the government is one of the reasons the latest strike dragged.
Courts’ roles in the FG/ASUU face-off
The ICIR reported last Friday how the Appeal Court in Abuja ordered ASUU to obey the National Industrial Court (NIC) ruling before filing an appeal.
The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Hamma Barka dismissed an application for a stay of execution on the NIC ruling, which the union had sought.
But it gave the lecturers seven days to file their appeal, during which they must have resumed work.
The Federal Government had dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court after the union refused to suspend its strike.
Dissatisfied with the NIC’s ruling, the union engaged Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who filed 14 grounds of appeal, including a stay of execution of the ruling, on behalf of the lecturers on Friday, September 26.
Gov’t yet to fully meet our demands – ASUU
In a statement released by Osodeke (ASUU President), on Friday, the lecturers said they suspended the strike because of the Appeal Court ruling and the intervention of President of Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the House of Representatives and other eminent Nigerians.
The union said its National Executive Committee deliberated on the recommendations of the Gbajabiamila-led committee after meeting with the lawmakers within the framework of the FGN/ ASUU’s Memorandum of Action(MoA) of 2020 on the contending issues that led to the strike.
According to the union, the issues include:
⦁ Funding for the Revitalisation of public universities
⦁ Earned Academic Allowances
⦁ The proliferation of public Universities
⦁ Visitation Panels/ Release of White Papers
⦁ University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) is a broad spectrum software to stop illegality and provide an alternative payment platform in the university system.
⦁ Renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement
While appreciating the efforts of the leadership of the House of Representatives and other Nigerians who waded into the matter, the union said the issues in dispute were yet to be satisfactorily addressed.
“However, as a law-abiding Union and in deference to appeals by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and in recognition of the efforts of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other well-meaning Nigerians, ASUU NEC resolved to suspend the strike action embarked upon on February 14 2022. Consequently, all members of ASUU are hereby directed to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from 12:01 on Friday, October 14, 2022.”