THE leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday suspended the prolonged strike action with effect from Friday 8, 2019 following an agreement reached with the Federal Government on key issues of demand.
ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who briefed journalists in Abuja after the meeting with the Federal Government representative led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the Union would not hesitate to return back to trenches if the government reneges on the agreement.
He said the suspension of the strike action was approved at the National Executive Council meeting of ASUU that looked at the offers by the Federal Government.
The memorandum of understanding was signed between the ASUU and Federal Government at end of the conciliatory meeting held at the instance of Chris Ngige, and Adamu Adamu Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.
The parties broker the truce few hours after a team of students from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened showdown against the leadership of ASUU who attended the negotiation.
Ngige who read the agreement signed by both parties, expressed optimism that the strike would be suspended.
Recalled that on Sunday 4th November, 2018, ASUU resumed the strike action which was conditionally suspended on 17th September, 2017.
In announcing the suspension of the strike ASUU president said: “In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
“Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36 months, and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
“PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
“Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th1anuary, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
“Payment of the outstanding Earned Academic Allowance, EAA, arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7’h February, 2019.
“Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of an operational license to NUPEMCO. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively by 11th March, 2019.
“Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by Friday 29th March, 2019.
“Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive consultations through its various organs.
“The final level of consultation was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NBC) which took place 6th-7th February, 2019.
“NBC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and 2017 MoU NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 am on Friday 8, February, 2019.
“However, should Government fail to fulfil its part of the agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary,” he said.