Excitement in varsities over possible strike call off
Reports that the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may soon sign an agreement to end the ongoing strike have excited lecturers, students, taxi drivers and traders on campuses.
AFTER almost five months at home, students of public universities may soon return to the classrooms, if words from the Federal Government and striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are anything to go by. For the first time, both sides seem to be giving children of the poor a ray of hope.
The first sign that universities may be reopening soon was given by Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige. Ngige. In a statement on Sunday, June 26, he said the Inter-ministerial departments and agencies committees of the Federal Government would turn in their reports to enable President Muhammadu Buhari take a decision on the deployment of UTAS and the condition of service for university lecturers.
According to the statement, by Wednesday of June 29, 2022, the various sub-committees would turn in their reports, to enable Buhari to be briefed fully and for decisions to be taken on the two contentious issues – UTAS and the renegotiated conditions of service, especially the issue of wage increase.
According to the President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, the union will call off the ongoing strike when the Federal Government accepts the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
He noted that the acceptance of UTAS and signing of the renegotiated agreement are the two conditions under which the strike which began on February 14 would be called off.
Osodeke noted that the leadership of ASUU appeared four times before the Prof. Nimi Briggs Committee, which renegotiated the 2009 agreement for the university lecturers.
The ASUU chief said since work on the 2009 agreement was concluded on June 16, it was yet to hear from the government whether they have an agreement or not.
It would be recalled that the ASUU strike, which started on February 14, entered 140th day on Monday. ASUU has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government, citing the refusal of the latter to honour the 2009 agreement it entered with the union in May, 2020.
Some of the demands in the agreements included condition of service of university lecturers to be reviewed every five years, issue of salaries and allowances, revitalisation of public universities, among other issues, University Transparency Accountability Solution and the inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) payment platform
Osodeke said: “Let the government tell us they have finished testing the UTAS and sign the agreement, then tomorrow we will call off the strike. We challenge the government, when would they sign the agreement? When would they accept UTAS? These are the two questions we should ask the government.”
©️ The Nation Newspaper, Campus Cybercafe