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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Why Academic Staff Union of Universities,ASUU called off strike


ABUJA—  Students of public-owned universities across the country were yesterday bubbling with enthusiasm for resumption following the decision of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to call off its 59-day strike.

The strike was called off following what sources close to the negotiations between the union and government told Vanguard was the government’s show of good faith to, within three months, implement the core issues at the heart of the demands of the union.

Among the issues that thawed the ice were the pledge by government to give presidential assent to the bill raising the retirement age of academic staff to 70 years; to pump more funds to the universities and to grant more autonomy to the universities.

The agreement to call off the strike was reached by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU during a meeting at the University of Abuja on Tuesday.

Briefing newsmen on the union’s action, yesterday, its National President Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, cited the renewed commitment on the part of Federal Government to honour all agreements outlined in 2009, as ASUU’s main reason for suspending the strike.

Giving further insight into Academic Staff Union of Universities,reason for suspending the strike,   Awuzie said government had agreed to provide more funds for the nation’s  universities beginning with an initial sum of N100 billion which it also hopes to shore up to N400 billion within a three-year time frame.

ALSO READ: ASUU CALLED OFF STRIKE

Awuzie also disclosed that government, through a memo sent to the union, pledged to ensure the compliance of the 26 per cent annual budgetary allocation to education in line with the UNESCO directive, but that such would be a progressive increase spanning between 2013 and  2020.

Retirement age bill On the bill recently passed by the Senate raising the age of retirement for academics on professorial cadre from 65 to 70, the Academic Staff Union of Universities,(ASUU) leader said President Goodluck Jonathan has indicated his consent to assent to the bill this month.

Awuzie further said the union having welcomed the intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the renewed commitment by the Federal Government as well as having  considered the agony students go through staying idle at home, decided to suspend the strike.

He said: “Government undertakes to re-instate Governing Councils of various universities on or before February 12, 2012, but may make changes in external membership where it deems necessary. The tenure of the councils upon reinstatement shall end in February, 2013.”

He said the decision to suspend the strike was not a unilateral process, saying: “These positions were duly taken to all branches for consideration in accordance with the democratic principles of  the union.”

Commenting on the suspension, Dr. ‘Wumi Oluwatoki, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities,(ASUU)-Lagos State University (LASU), said it was necessary because government showed some level of commitment towards meeting core areas of the union’s demands.

“Having showed commitment towards implementing core areas of our demands, we give government the benefit of doubt to prove they are honourable.”

On his part, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities,(ASUU)-University of Lagos (UNILAG), affirmed that the strike had only been suspended and not called off, adding: “The Federal Government promised to implement the agreement within three months.”

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