ASUU suspends eight-month-old strike 

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its eight-month-old strike with conditions.

The ICIR gathered from a source in the union that the strike was called off following the Appeal Court ruling ordering the lecturers back to work.

“We are calling it off conditionally,” the source, who attended a meeting where the decision was taken, told our reporter.

It is not clear as of press time what the conditions are.

But The ICIR reports that they will not be unconnected with the lecturers’ withheld salaries, which the Federal Government said it would not pay within the period they were on strike.

Others are deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS); payment of outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA); and the release of an agreed sum of money for revitalising public universities (federal and state), among others.

The ICIR reports that ASUU embarked on strike on February 14 over unmet demands by the Federal Government, resulting in the suspension of academic activities in most public universities in the country.

On Friday, the newspaper reported how the Appeal Court in Abuja ordered ASUU to obey the National Industrial Court (NIC) ruling before filing its appeal.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Hamma Barka dismissed an application for 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 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.

President Muhammadu Buhari, the House of Representatives and other government functionaries and prominent citizens had waded into the crisis without a compromise between both parties.

But the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, persuaded the union to end the strike after meeting its leaders on Monday.

ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke confirmed the union would call off the strike after the meeting.

Osodeke admitted that the intervention of the National Assembly had influenced the union’s optimism for ending the strike.

He said: “If the way the National Assembly has intervened, we had done that long ago, or those in charge of labour and education had done exactly this, we would not be where we are today. We would not have stayed more than two or three weeks on this strike. There is strike all over the world — UK, US, all over — but they don’t allow it to last.

“So, once again, thank you very much, and we hope that, working together in the next few days, we can put an end to this particular imbroglio in the Nigerian educational system.”

Besides, ASUU’s lawyer, Falana, had promised the union would return to work after the Appeal Court’s ruling.

Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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