Federal Government may have reached a trunce with the striking university lecturers, early Friday morning going by the lecturers assertion that they will go back to consider the government’s offer and suspend their strike.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria (ASUU), had on August 13 declared a “total and comprehensive indefinite” strike due to what the union said the Federal Government’s failure to fulfill the 2009 agreement made with the union.
Since then it has been locked in dialogue with the Federal Government in an effort to resolve the logjam.
The latest agreement which was reached minutes after 12am Friday morning, sources said, was reasonable enough for ASUU to consider.
The leadership of ASUU, however, said though it accepted the proposal presented by the government, it will take it to members and get back to the government in a week.
Biodun Ogunyemi, the National President of ASUU, told journalists after the meeting that the union will come back after one week to take its final decisions.
“Now we have some concrete proposal that we will take back to our members for consideration,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said ASUU’s demands have been addressed and the union will get back to the government in a week after consulting with its principals.
The meeting started 1:38pm on Thursday and ended 2:15 a.m. on Friday.
ASUU had at the beginning of strike told newsmen after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council held at the University of Abuja, that the industrial action was unavoidable. .
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, had said that during the strike period, there would be no teaching, examination or attendance of statutory meeting of any kind in any of ASUU’s branches till the government meets the union’s demands.
Among the issues ASUU had raised this time are the 2009 agreement and 2013 MOU are; funding for the revitalization of public universities; earned academic allowances; registration of Nigerian universities pension management company and pension matters; university staff school, fractionalisation and non payment of salaries among others.
The union called on Nigerians to prevail on owners of public universities to be alive to their responsibilities.
The ASUU President said the Wale Babalakin negotiation committee lacked powers to resolve the issue as there were unimplemented items in the 2009 Agreement.
“Issues outside Babalakin’s negotiation committee are what we discussing. We are saying that government did not continue the implementation of the existing issues from 2009 Federal government ASUU agreement. Government have abandoned implementation,” he said.
Ogunyemi said the government had ignored the education system, while the political class send their wards to private universities and universities abroad leaving public universities in Nigeria to collapse.
“Primary and secondary school system has already collapse in Nigeria but not all Nigerians have the funds to send their wards to private schools,” he said.
He said for continued productivity, employers must fulfill the minimal obligation of paying their workers’ salaries correctly and as when due.
“Our members in state universities have experienced untold hardship owing to denial of salaries for several months in Ladoke Akintola university of Technology, LAUTECH, Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUTECH, Tai Solarin University of Education, TASUED, and Ekiti State University, EKSU, among several others,” he said.
“A deliberate attempt to turn Nigerian academics to beggars and people of unsure footing must therefore be resisted by all who care about the future of our children and the transformation of our country,” he said.
Similarly, the immediate past president of the union, Nasir Fagge, said the re-negotiation agreement should have been done before now if the nation seeks to develop the education sector
“Other countries invest lots on education. In Somalia for instance, the huge chunk of allocation goes to education. If the government is interested in the development of a country, it will be interested in education,” he said.
He said the agreement was signed in 2009 but yet to be implemented.
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