ASUU suspends strike, asks lecturers to resume tomorrow
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has officially suspended a strike it commenced three months ago.
The union directed university lecturers to resume duty from tomorrow, February 12.
The suspension of the strike was announced on Thursday evening after a meeting with between the ASUU leadership and a government delegation led by labour minister, Chris Ngige.
The ASUU delegation was led by its president, Abiodun Ogunyemi, who announced the suspension of the strike.
At the meeting, a memorandum of action was signed by the two parties.
Mr Ngige had earlier said the government had resolved the eight contentious issues that led to the strike. He said some of the items have been implemented.
Mr Ngige said the union agreed with the government that N25 billion naira will be released for the revitalization of public universities.
He said visitation panels have been constituted and will commence work on March 2.
ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, following government’s failure to implement the agreement reached with the union in November 2016.
Reason For Ending Strike
In announcing the suspension of the strike, Mr Ogunyemi read a prepared speech detailing the agreements the union reached with the federal government.
He listed eight items contained in the agreement signed by ASUU and the federal government.
“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,” Mr Ogunyemi said.
Read the full speech by the ASUU president below.
Friends and compatriots of the Press, On Sunday, 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities
(ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.
The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017. While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action”. Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.
Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU. Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike
situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.
Why Strike Action?
The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the universities?
However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria. ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health,
transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living. This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and
resisted by all people of goodwill.
ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union. At our media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd December, 2018, we highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:
– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017
– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of the nation and the people at heart.
– Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances (EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of same into the 2018 budget.
– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA)
– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of university education and undue interference in the affairs of the universities
– Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO
– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution
To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of 2019. Highlights of the MoA include the following:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.