by Alexander O. Onukwue
After 36 days of strike action, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked her members to resume duty.
Academic activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions have been on a halt since the 13th of August when the union proceeded on an indefinite strike. The famed 2009 agreement was once more the bone of contention, together with some other demands including exclusion from the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
To its credit, the Federal Government engaged the union early in meetings and consultations, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu. ASUU’s team led by Prof Biodun Ogunyemi has appeared largely cooperative throughout the five-week period. Some meetings ended deadlocked but it did not prevent both parties from returning to the negotiating table.
ASUU has now chosen to suspend the strike after meeting again with the FG’s team on Monday, 18th September, directing that lecturers reopen the classrooms and continue from where they stopped before the strike.
According to reports, the condition for the suspension of the strike is that the FG honours the October 2017 timeline it has set for implementing the agreements reached by both parties. ASUU says it will not hesitate to take action should the Government renege, though the union hopes the Government will not do so.
It is a victory for the union and credit to the Government for its pro-active response, averting the traditional long periods which indefinite ASUU strikes are known to last for. It should be desired that such strikes would not occur in the first place to avoid the disruptions caused in the academics of Nigerian students, but when they seem inevitable, it is also impressive to know that such disagreements can be resolved within the quickest possible time.