President Muhammadu Buhari, has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off their ongoing strike action and return to the classrooms while negotiations continue.
He stated this while delivering a speech to commemorate Nigeria’s Independence day on Saturday.
The president also emphasised that his administration has made appreciable progress in addressing the concerns of the striking union that have been lingering for over eleven years.
“I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system and I am using this Independence Day celebration to reiterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available,” he said.
ASUU embarked on a 4-week nationwide strike on the 14th of February aimed at pressing home its demands from the Federal Government.
Some of the demands of ASUU include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowance, poor funding of state universities and promotion arrears. Others are immediate deployment of UTAS to replace IPPIS; renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement; release of the reports of visitation panels to federal universities and distortions in salary payment challenges.
The Federal Government’s Briggs renegotiation committee, had since April 2022, been meeting with ASUU to resolve its dispute with the government and non-resolution of demands of the 2009 agreements signed with the federal government.
After further extensions of the industrial action, ASUU remained adamant in its resolve to press on with its demand as it once again on August 1 extended its ongoing strike by another four weeks to give the Federal Government more time to resolve outstanding issues in its dispute with it.
However, after several fruitless negotiations between the warring parties ASUU resolved to embark on an indefinite strike starting from Monday 29th August, 2022.
Recently, the leadership of the House of Representatives brokered a meeting between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The meeting came after three weeks of deliberations with the union and all the relevant government agencies to resolve the teething issues that necessitated the seven months old strike of the lecturers.
The union’s strikes under Buhari account for the highest number of days the lecturers have downed tools under any President since the nation returned to democracy in 1999.
Under Buhari’s watch, ASUU’s last two strikes have exceeded 200 days each, the longest under any President since 1999.
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