ASUU suspends eight-week strike
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has suspended its nationwide strike which grounded academic activities in public universities in the country for more than eight weeks.
National President of ASUU, Prof. Ukachuckwu Awuzie, announced the suspension at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
ASUU declared what it called a “total indefinite and comprehensive strike” on December 4, 2011, to prevail on government to implement the 2009 agreement it entered into with it.
The union said the decision to suspend the strike was reached after extensive deliberations at its branch and national levels to consider overtures made by the Federal Government.
The proposals made by government at various meetings, he said, were referred to ASUU branches for consideration after which the position taken by each branch was brought to NEC for deliberations before a final decision was reached.
The ASUU President said, “ASUU NEC after collating the advice from members across the country, and having deliberated extensively, resolved to suspend the strike with effect from Thursday 2nd February 2012.”
He explained that government re-affirmed its commitment to implementing the 11 issues identified as knotty in the 2009 agreement.
Awuzie listed the issues as funding, assistance to state universities, progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020, earned academic allowances and amendment to the pension/retirement age for lecturers from 65 to 70 years.
Others are the establishment of a pension fund administrator, restatement of the university governing councils, transfer of landed property to the universities, setting up research and development units by companies operating in Nigeria, and the setting up of a budget monitoring committee, as well as the expansion of the implementation monitoring committee.
Awuzie said, “Government reaffirms its commitment to the revitalisation of Nigerian universities through budgetary and non-budgetary sources of funds.
“Government will immediately stimulate the process with the sum of N100bn and will build this up to a yearly sum of N400bn in the next three years. These interventions will be based on identified prioritised needs.
“The state universities shall continue to enjoy special and other statutory interventions.
“Progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020.”
He also said although government accepted in principle the payment of Earned Academic Allowances, there was still the need to work out practical and sustainable ways to do this.
This, he said, led to the expansion of the mandate of the Implementation Monitoring Committee to include proposing practical and sustainable ways of paying the earned academic allowances.
The IMC was given 60 days within which to submit its report.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students has welcomed the suspension of the strike, appealing to the government to respect agreements entered into with ASUU.
National President of NANS, Mr. Dauda Mohammed, said the suspension of the strike was a right step in the right direction because public universities had suffered neglect.