The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Thursday, gave an indication that the union will suspend its prolonged strike very soon, as its President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, declared that the varsity lecturers are ready to go back to school.
The ASUU President gave the hint even as the Federal Government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, assured it would meet the union demands within time frame it stipulated.
Prof Ogunyemi, who was speaking at a meeting between the Federal Government, led by the Labour Minister and ASUU leadership, led by the President, said their members are willing to resume because it is a matter of national interest.
He points out that their members also have their children at home, like all other parents who have their children at home due to the prolonged strike.
The ASUU president said: “Our members are ready and willing to go to class because it is a matter of national interest. Just like every other person’s child is at home, our member’s children are also at home.”
Prof Ogunyemi commended the Senate President and the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Accountant General of the Federation, among others for making it possible for them to discuss on the issues.
He pointed out that though, ASUU delegation came with an open mind to the meeting, its members out there expect much from the meeting.
The ASUU president also explained that it is a matter of national interest that “we do what we are doing, and we are conscious of our place in history;” adding, “If academic do not defend the academia, who defend the academics.”
Ogunyemi, therefore, appealed to all to look at the issues affecting the university system as a national emergency in the country.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government promised to meet ASUU demands within the time frame stipulated.
Dr Ngige said the government is currently taking steps to ensure that all the demands of ASUU are met within the time frame issued by the union.
Both Parties to consult and reconvened on Monday
The minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this after about four hours of engagement between both parties.
He said the two parties will reconvene on Monday after the union has deliberated with its National Executive Council, NEC.
The President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who concurred with the minister, said the union’s NEC will review the conditions for the integration of UTAS into IPPIS.
Senator Ngige said: “I am pleased to inform you that with the four ministers and permanent secretaries, Accountant-General of the Federation and directors, Acting Chairman, National Income and Wages Commission and ASUU Presidents and executive, we held very fulfilling discussions.
“And where necessary we debated, put forward our points and the Union’s side. Issues we discussed and we used the memorandum of action, which we entered into in February 2019, to look at issues that are outstanding; issues that have not been fully addressed.
“And both sides were satisfied that we made reasonable progress in addressing the few issues that have not been fully treated. Therefore, we move to the next round of a new contentious issue, which is the issues bordering on the non-capturing of some ASUU members on the IPPIS platform.
“This resulted in the withholding of salaries and allowances of most ASUU members; those who did not come under the platform and even some other university non-academic staff members.
“Discussions were open and both sides realised that we are working for our country and that whatever arrangement we put in place would be for a better Nigeria. ASUU has developed UTAS, and we have had some preliminary agreements on what is to be done