ASUU calls off strike, parents, students heave sigh of relief

No faction in ASUU, but expression of misgivings -Ogunyemi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has finally called off its over three months old strike, bringing relief to parents and students across the country.

The President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, announced the calling off on Thursday when addressing journalists shortly after a meeting with representatives of the Federal Government which included Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in Abuja.

Said Ogunyemi:  “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 (NEC) which took place between 6th and 7th February, 2019.

“NEC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 M011 and 2017 MoA, 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.”

He however warned that in the event of the failure of the government to fulfill its part of the agreement reached, the union would resume strike again.

“However, should government fail to fulfill 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.

He stated further:  “ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice Chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities. Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalization of public universities in Nigeria.

“ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and the progressiye development of our universities. Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.”

The strike was started on November 5, 2018 over need for general improvement in the welfare of staff and the universities across the country.

Several meetings had however been held between ASUU and the government in order to bring it to an end to no avail until the latest one.

However, at its meeting held on Thursday in Abuja, the meeting was called off.

Indication emerged on Friday that the strike might be called off Thursday.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, gave the indication while speaking with journalists shortly after the meeting between the Federal Government delegation and ASUU in Abuja.

According to him, some level of progress had been made and ASUU needed to take the outcome of the meeting back home to its members.

A meeting, he said, had been scheduled for Thursday where the decision of ASUU would be communicated.

His words: “The meeting was protracted, but the good news is that we have gotten to the end of the tunnel.”

He explained further:  “We met them half way and we have finished the gray areas and on the issue of N50 billion, we have offered what we have.

“We do not have N50 billion and we cannot do N50 billion, but we have offered them something reasonable.

“So they have to take it back, and go and present to their members.”

Also speaking on the possibility of bringing the crisis to an end, the President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi said another meeting had been scheduled to hold on Thursday.

Said he:  “So, far on the level of progress made so far, I cannot tell you that now until I tell my members.

“It is the feedback of the last meeting we came to present to government today.

“But right now, we have a new set of information that we have to go and present to our members; until we tell our members, we cannot tell you.”

“We are making progress and the progress we are making is for everybody’s interest and stakeholders will benefit at the end of the day.

“We will be meeting on Thursday, after which, we will address the press.

“We have trashed all areas, so the progress we have made must first be related to our members.

“So until we tell them, and they tell us what to do, that is only when we can relate to the press. The meeting adjourned till Thursday,” he added.