The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will be holding an emergency meeting today that will last all through the night in an attempt to allow the leadership of the union to take a final decision on the ongoing 8 -month-old strike which has destabilized the country’s university system.
There had been media reports that the various chapters of ASUU have been sharply divided on the suspension of the industrial action, with some favoring the call off of the strike, while some called for the extension of the strike despite the court orders.
However, there had been some other reports that barring any last-minute change of plan, the leadership of ASUU may announce the suspension of the strike action in compliance with the appeal court directive that the lecturers called off the strike within 7 days.
According to a Punch, a top official of the union acknowledged that the meeting will last overnight to allow enough time for deliberation and conclusion.
The official said,We will have a meeting today and it will last overnight so that we will be given enough time to deliberate and make a conclusion.”
Also, the ASUU’s lawyer, Femi Falana, while appearing on a monitored Arise Television program on Wednesday hinted that ASUU may be calling off the strike very soon as he would not advise them to go against the decision of the court.
What you should know
ASUU had been on strike since February 14, 2022, to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalization of public universities, which amounts to N1.1 trillion, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), payment of promotion arrears and the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
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Efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.
The Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige, had dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court and through the Federal Government’s lead counsel filed an application for an interlocutory injunction, seeking an order of the court restraining striking lecturers from further continuing with the strike.
Despite a ruling by the National Industrial Court on September 21, 2022, ordering them to return to work, the University lecturers have remained adamant and subsequently through their lawyers, filed an appeal against the court ruling.
After no breakthrough in negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government, the Appeal court on Friday ordered the striking lecturers to resume duty immediately.
The Court also granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court, while insisting that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from October 7”.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, last week Friday said the country would soon hear from President Muhammadu Buhari on the protracted ASUU strike.
Gbajabiamila, who met with the President at the State House for the second time in one week over the ASUU strike, said discussions with the President were fruitful, adding that Buhari would make known his decisions to the public after reviewing the lawmakers’ recommendations.