The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), after 10 rounds of meetings, finally reached an agreement yesterday on contending issues, which led to the two months’ industrial action.
As a result of the agreement, which was signed between the union leaders and government officials, the ASUU leadership announced the suspension of the strike.
Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige told reporters at the end of the two hours’ meeting that eight areas in contention have been resolved by both parties while implementation of some of the agreements has already commenced.
The minister listed areas in contention, which has been resolved as including the Nigeria University Pension Company, constitution of visitation panels, shortfall in salaries, Earned Academic Allowance and revitalisation funds for universities.
He added that while the union has already collected the certificate for NUPENCO, government has made money available for the payment of the shortfall in salaries as well as Earned Academic Allowances.
He also said the government has agreed to release N25 billion as revitalisation fund between April and May 2019 after which it will commence full implementation of the 2009 agreement.
He added that allowances of lecturers of University of Ilorin would be paid immediately.
The parties, he said, also agreed that the Babalakin Committee, which is charged with renegotiating the agreement, should reconvene latest February 18 and March 29, 2019.
Addressing reporters later, ASUU President Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi announced that the leadership of the union has agreed to suspend the strike action immediately beginning from today with the condition that it would not hesitate to resume the action, if government failed to meet its own part of the agreement.
He, however, lamented the role played by some vice chancellors, who attempted to break the rank of the union, adding that it would not hesitate to tackle them head on.
Ogunyemi said: “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 on February 6th-7th, 2019. NEC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding issues 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.
“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.
“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 revitalisation 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 progressive development of our universities. Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.”