Lagos – The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday hailed the resilience of its members in the struggle to re-position the nation’s university system as it concludes a one-week warning strike.
The union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the commendation in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN recalls that the union last week, declared a national warning strike to press home their long standing demands from the Federal Government.
The lecturers under the aegis of ASUU began the strike in all university branches on Nov. 16.
The union listed its demands to include Federal Government’s refusal to honour its 2009 agreement and the denial of staff entitlement in respect of earned academic allowance, amounting to N128 billion.
Other demands are poor funding of universities for revitalisation and refusal to register the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company.
According to Ogunyemi, members had ensured total compliance of the strike while it lasted in all the universities.
“I am very happy with the level of compliance shown by members.
“I had good reports concerning the strike from the various zones and branches.
“Thus, it goes to show the commitment that our members are putting in place to achieve global competitiveness for Nigerian universities.
“The strike will be over today and we have directed that academic activities should resume,’’ the president said.
He said that negotiations were ongoing with a committee put in place by the Senate to look into the issues listed by the union.
“Yesterday, we commenced talks with the committee to deliberate on the various issues on ground.
“The meeting had in attendance representatives from the Ministries of education, budget, finance, labour and representatives of the committee on tertiary institutions, TETfund and others.
“The deliberation was fruitful as we all had good approaches on the issues.
“For now, we can call this development as work in progress.
“We shall update our members on all that transpired because we are a democratic group,’’ Ogunyemi told NAN.
According to the unionist, the outcome of the meeting will be reviewed by members.
Ogunyemi added that if they were satisfied with it, a congress would be called to give a common verdict.
“It is not in the place for the executive committee members to unilaterally take decisions concerning the issue.
“Members will be the ones to know the next line of action to take in respect of the understanding that the executive reached with the government.
“If members are satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, then there will be no need for further agitation.
“All we are saying is for government to always try to keep its own side of the bargain so that our members can keep fate in them,’’ he said.