THE Federal government has reversed its decision to reopen its universities where members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are currently on strike.
The ICIR reported earlier today how the government, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), directed vice-chancellors of the affected universities to reopen and ensure lectures begin immediately.
The Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, signed the circular on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Abubakar Rasheed, a professor.
It was addressed to all vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors, and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.
“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; restore the daily activities and routines of the various university campuses,” part of the letter read.
But in a sudden turnabout, the government, through the NUC, in another circular signed by Onazi, and referenced NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, suspended the order.
The circular, captioned, “Withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022” reads, “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022, on the above subject. Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn.
“All pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils, as well as vice-chancellors of federal universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.
“Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards”
The ICIR had reported how ASUU said it was not bothered by the earlier directive.
In a telephone interview with ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke, the union said the universities were never closed by the strike and that government could take any decision it chose.
ASUU embarked on strike on February 14 over unmet demands by the Federal government.
The strike has since forced thousands of students in most public universities in the country to their homes.
All efforts by the government and major stakeholders to resolve the crisis have failed.
Peeved by ASUU’s decision not to shift its ground on the strike, the Federal government approached the National Industrial Court to compel the union to return to class.
The court ruled in favour of the government last Wednesday and compelled the lecturers to return to work.
But ASUU appealed the ruling through its lawyer, Femi Falana, maintaining its position that the strike would continue until the government met its demands.
The demands are part of the 2009 agreement it had with the Federal government, which it said the government must implement.
The ICIR reported that ASUU had gone on strike for over 600 days under President Muhammadu Buhari, the longest under any leader in Nigeria.