The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), recently alleviated the fears of Nigerians especially students, parents and guardians that the industrial action embarked upon by the union might drag into 2021 when the union called off its nine months old strike on Wednesday, last week.
ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the cheering announcement during a press briefing in Abuja, after series of meetings with the Federal Government ended in a deadlock. Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige’s disclosure that the government had met 98% of the demands of the university lecturers’ demands is also another piece of good news.
The lecturers had among other things demanded that they should be exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) until the approval of the proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) among other things. However, many are not at ease with Ogunyemi’s warning that the union could return to strike without notice if the government fails to meet its part of the agreement reached. We believe that there is the need for the federal government as the employer to deliver on its own side of the bargain because incessant disruptions of the university academic calendar occasioned by strikes is to say the least, detrimental to the overall development of the country.
Besides, since disagreements cannot be ruled out of any human relationship, amicable and sustainable resolution of conflicts between the federal government and ASUU in this case is inevitable with a view to making progress. Nine months of students forced to sit at home would have been better imagined than experienced. The ASUU strike which has paralyzed academic activities in public universities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is to say the least a terrible blow to students and their parents alike.
However, following the outcome of the federal government and ASUU negotiations, we commend both parties for at least moving away from the stalemate and opening a new vista to return public universities back to academic activities. In this vein, we urge that the FG and ASUU peace deal should be satisfactorily implemented in a way that is mutually acceptable to both parties, to avoid further strikes.