…Lecturers to resume duty Thursday
BY RAPHAEL JOV, Abuja
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its 9-month-old strike after exhaustive deliberations during its meeting with the federal government in Abuja yesterday.
The Union suspended the strike following its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat Complex on Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020.
This comes after both parties unanimously resolved the seven contentious issues that had prolonged the strike which include Funding for Revitalization of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), Salary Shortfall, State Universities, Visitation Panels, Reconstitution of the Government Renegotiating Team and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike on 23rd March, 2020 over several issues including the non-implementation of agreements and resolutions the government reached with the union in 2009 and the disagreement it had with the government over refusals to bring its members under the federal government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Following the disagreement, the Union therefore, proceeded to develop what it described as ”a more transparent pay system” named the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative to the IPPIS. However, the reluctance of government to accept the platform and attend to some of their other demands kept university students out of school for nine months.
The president of the Union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who announced the suspension of the strike in Abuja yesterday, said the agreement which was reached in good faith with the government and the Union on Tuesday imposed some obligations on both sides.
“On our part we have undertaken to go back to the classrooms, laboratories etc, to do our best for our students and our
country. We are going back to rekindle the motivation and aspirations in our members to strive to encourage our students to excel, all in the expectations that Governments both Federal and State will sincerely fulfil their own part of the bargain.
“We are returning to classes with the firm hope that parents will take prime interests in their children’s conditions of living and learning, better funding, better laboratories, and free development for their children, in order to get an all-round education that will enable them compete with the rest of the world. We appeal to parents to work with us for the revitalisation of public Universities.”
“On our own part, we accept and shall continue to accept fair and honest criticisms made in the interest of the university system and the people of Nigeria. We have no delusion that the Agreements reached with government will resolve all the important problems in the Nigerian University System. What we believe is that if the federal government faithfully implements the resolutions, with ASUU, students, parents and other stakeholders playing their essential roles, further crisis would be avoided.
“On the basis of the fore-going, the National Executive Council (NEC) resolved that the current strike by the union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m Thursday, 24th December, 2020. However, should government fail to fulfil its agreement, ASUU will resume its suspended strike action as deemed necessary,” he added.
Ogunyemi stressed that to avoid further strike in the university system, the Union expect government to faithfully implement all the Agreements reached and signed and release EAA as agreed, and the mainstreaming of EAA into annual budget using the agreed formula.
Similarly, he urged the government to expedite action on the test princesses and ensure the deployment of IT AS for the payment of salaries in the university system while expressing the need for the FGN/ASUU re-negotiation exercise to conclude as specified in the timelines agreed by both parties.