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Nine months after, ASUU discovers ‘light’ at end of strike tunnel

By Adamu Abuh (Abuja) and Murtala Adewale (Kano)
11 October 2022   |   3:22 am
President of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, yesterday, declared: “From what we have seen today, I think for the first time since our action started...

The Speaker of the House of Reps in a meeting with the Leadership of ASUU to end the seven month old strike

• Buhari’s pronouncement expected today, says Gbajabiamila
• Speaker, Falana affirm industrial dispute to end soon
• BUK debunks rumour over resumption date

President of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, yesterday, declared: “From what we have seen today, I think for the first time since our action started, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He spoke following a meeting with House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who assured that the industrial dispute between ASUU and the Federal Government will be over in a couple of days.

The leadership of the striking lecturers is expected to sign an agreement to end the dispute based on recommendations the House has presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Speaker assured that Buhari will, today, make a pronouncement towards final resolution of the issue. Gbajabiamila expressed delight over Buhari’s disposition to ensure an end to the nine-month old strike.

He said: “I have visited the President twice. We spoke with Mr. President. There was one of the sticking points, the issue of no-work-no pay. The President did ask to digest the recommendations and would have one more meeting, which we did on Friday after the budget presentation.

“That meeting was even better than the first one we had with him, and Mr. President has agreed to certain things. But I’m not going to talk about that now.

“He will disclose whatever it is tomorrow (today) on that one remaining issue. But beyond that, the other issues have been taken care of.

“We were able to make sure that what ASUU was asking for, in terms of the Revitalisation Fund, in terms of salary, there has been significant improvement.

“Revitalisation has been provided for in the budget. We made sure of that. The salary structure has been looked at, and there’s been an improvement as well and we made sure of that.

“UTAS is another important issue. Both ASUU and the Office of the Accountant General and the government have agreed that they would work together to resolve the peculiarities of UTAS required for the payment plan and IPPIS.

“They will sit down together, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education will also be part of that tripartite arrangement to include all those things that are required by ASUU in the IPPIS platform.

“So, I believe we’ve covered ground. We’ve covered most of the thorny issues. And what we have agreed with ASUU now is basically to put everything on paper and sign off.

“I believe if we had met yesterday and the papers had been drawn up, I’m sure ASUU would have called off the strike today (yesterday).

In his response, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, who led other members of the union to the meeting, corroborated the views expressed by the Speaker over signing of the agreement to end the strike.

He said: “My union operates bottom-up. We don’t take decisions without their consent. So, we have agreed that between now and tomorrow, we are going to get some documentation signed, so that we can take them to our members.

“And we will do that as quickly as possible in the interest of Nigerians and the students, so that this can be resolved as soon as possible.

“From what we have seen today, I think for the first time, since our actions started, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
ASUU has reiterated its willingness to call off its eight-month strike, expressing optimism that ongoing talks between the Presidency and the House of Representatives leadership will yield positive results, counsel for ASUU, Femi Falana, disclosed, yesterday.

His assurance followed Friday’s ruling by the Court of Appeal in Abuja ordering the striking lecturers to resume academic duties.

“The legal advice that I will give to my clients is confidential. But I can assure you that the strike will soon be called off,” Falana said.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said he would advise his clients accordingly, once the certified true copy of the court order is made available to him.

He added: “Advising clients to call off a strike is the most difficult aspect of my practice. On one occasion, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and I spent six hours persuading Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other Nigeria Labour Congress members to call off a strike, in compliance with a court order. Our advice to ASUU will be based on the court order and other relevant reports.

“I am reasonably confident that the consultations between the House and the Presidency will yield positive results in the interest of the striking lecturers and the students.”

MEANWHILE, Bayero University Kano, yesterday, distanced itself from news making the rounds, suggesting it would resume academic activities on October 20, 2022.

A statement by the institution’s spokesperson, Lamara Garba, said the management did not issue any circular to that effect. The university, therefore, urged the public, especially parents and students, to disregard the information, which has already gone viral.

He said: “The attention of the management of Bayero University Kano has been drawn to a fake and unfounded information circulating on social media, announcing the resumption date of the institution.

“Members of the public, particularly students and parents are urged to disregard and ignore such information, as it is fake and malicious.”