The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it has suspended its nine months’ old strike, though with certain conditions.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said this at a news conference after the emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union on Wednesday in Abuja.
ASUU has been on strike since March 23 to press home certain demands, which include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), salary shortfall, state universities.
The other demands of the union are visitation panels, re-constitution of the 2009 FGN/ASUU re-negotiation committee, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), withheld salaries and non-remittance of check-off dues.
Ogunyemi said that NEC resolved to conditionally suspend the industrial action, which the union embarked upon on March 23, with effect from 12 a.m. on Thursday.
“However, should government fail to fulfil its own parts of the agreement, ASUU will resume its suspended strike, as deemed necessary.
“NEC resolved to accept the agreement reached between ASUU and the Federal Government on Dec. 22, and also to consciously and diligently monitor the implementation of Federal Government/ASUU agreements of Dec. 22 in all branches.
“NEC also resolved to ensure that no ASUU member suffered any loss of deserved benefits as a result of participation in the strike,” he said.
The ASUU president said that NEC would pursue fervently the areas in the Federal Government-ASUU agreement of 2009 and the Memorandum of Action (MoA) 2013, which required legislation.
He added that such areas included the mainstreaming of EAA into the annual budget and the Executive Bill in respect of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Act, 2004.
Besides, Ogunyemi said that ASUU’s expectation from the Federal Government and the state governments was that government should faithfully implement all the agreements reached and signed with the union.
“Therefore the implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC), which had already been constituted to the satisfaction of government and ASUU, will work diligently to ensure that funds released are used to meet genuine revitalisation needs of Nigerian public universities.
“This is with a strict and disciplined supervision of the implementation processes by the universities themselves. To this end, the students and their parents would see the fruits of the struggles of ASUU in their lives.
“The union expects the immediate release of EAA, as agreed, as well as the mainstreaming of EAA into annual budget, using the agreed formula.
“The union also expects government to immediately engage the universities and other research centres in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is one of the challenges that the universities have been asking the government to throw to Nigerian academics,” he said.
The ASUU president also called on government to expedite action on the test processes and ensure the development of UTAS for the payment of salaries in the university system.
He stressed that the adoption of the software would assist government in its fight against corruption and, thus, play an important role in maintaining a high standard of accountability in the education sector.
He also said that the union expected that government and ASUU re-negotiation exercise would be concluded, as specified in the timeline agreed by both parties, among others.
“On our part, we are going back to rekindle the motivation and aspirations in our members to strive to encourage our students to excel, in all the expectations that government will sincerely fulfil their own part of the bargain,” he said.