THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday announced the suspension of its eight-month-old strike.
The decision was taken at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union which was held until late Thursday in Abuja.
ASUU president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, announced the suspension of the protracted strike in a statement issued on Friday but lamented that the issues in dispute were yet to be satisfactorily addressed.
The union had begun the rollover strike on February 14 over the failure of the Federal Government to meet its demands. The Friday statement announcing the suspension of the strike, which was signed by Osodeke, reads: “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 29th August 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 egal even after statutory apprehension by the Minister of Labour and Employment?
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“In addition, he asked for an interlocutory order against the continuation of the strike.
“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 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 action.
“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 a broad spectrum software to stop illegality and provide for an alternative payment platform in the university system. Renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement.
“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 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 NEC resolved to suspend the strike action embarked upon on 14th February 2022.
“Consequently, all members of ASUU are hereby directed to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from 12:01 on Friday, 14th October, 2022. Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has appealed to the Federal Government to show more commitment to the implementation of agreements reached ASUU and other staff unions to allow for smooth running of the institutions. Secretary-General of CVCNU, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, made the call on Friday in Abuja while reacting to the suspension of the ASUU strike.”