After staying away from the classroom for eight months, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the early hours of Friday finally suspended its strike which began on February 14, this year.
The Union took the decision at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) at its National Secretariat, University of Abuja.
The meeting, which lasted for more than six hours, deliberated on the ruling of the Appeal Court, offers made by the federal government and the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Union stated that it suspended the strike in line with the order of the courts and in deference to the appeals by President Muhammadu Buhari and in recognition of the efforts of Gbajabiamila, and other well-meaning Nigerians.
It consequently directed its members to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from Friday, October 14, 2022.
In a statement issued at the end of the meeting by its president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the Union regretted the failure of the government to “satisfactorily address all issues in dispute.”
The statement read: “The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) held an emergency meeting at the Comrade Festus lyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Thursday, 13th October, 2022. The meeting reviewed developments since the Union declared an indefinite strike action on August 29, 2022.
“During the intervening period, the Minister of Labour and Employment, through a referral, approached the National Industrial Court (NIC) for the interpretation of “the provision of sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 18 (1) of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, whether the on-going prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities which started since 14th February, 2022 is legal even after statutory apprehension by the Minister of Labour and Employment?” In addition, he asked for an interlocutory order against the continuation of the strike.”
It read further, “The National Industrial Court in its wisdom gave an order compelling ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the substantive suit. Given the nature of the order, and in the opinion of our counsel, there was the need to appeal the interlocutory injunction granted against our Union at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal acknowledged the validity of the grounds of the Union’s appeal but still upheld the order of the lower court and ordered our Union to comply with the ruling of the lower court as a condition precedent for the appeal to be heard.
“NEC noted the series of meetings with the leadership of the House of Representatives led by the Hon. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as intervention efforts of other well-meaning Nigerians both within and outside government and the progress made so far.
“NEC deliberated on the recommendations of the Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila-led Committee within the framework of the FGN/ASUU’s Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2020 on the contending issues that led to the strike. For the avoidance of doubt, the issues include: Funding for Revitalisation of public universities, Earned Academic Allowances; Proliferation of public Universities; Visitation Panels/Release of White Papers; University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as broad spectrum software to stop illegality and provide for an alternative payment platform in the university system Renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement.”
It added, “While appreciating the commendable efforts of the leadership of the House of Representatives and other patriotic Nigerians who waded into the matter, NEC noted with regrets that the issues in dispute are yet to be satisfactorily addressed.
“However, as a law-abiding Union and in deference to the 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’s NEC resolved to suspend the strike 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.”