The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed its readiness to call off its 8-month strike based on the recent order from the Appeal Court and the ongoing discussion among some relevant stakeholders.
The lecturers union expressed optimism that the ongoing talks between the Presidency and the House of Representatives leadership will yield positive results.
This was made known on Monday by the Lawyer to ASUU, Femi Falana, during a chat with Channels Television after the Court of Appeal in Abuja ordered the striking lecturers to resume academic duties.
What the ASUU’s counsel is saying
Falana stated, “The legal advice that I will give to my clients is confidential. But I can assure you that the strike will soon be called off.’’
That counsel said he will advise his clients accordingly once the certified true copy of the court order of last Friday has been made available to him.
He said, “Advising clients to call off a strike is the most difficult aspect of my practice. On one occasion, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and I spent six hours persuading Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) to call off a strike in compliance with a court order. Our advice to ASUU will be based on the court order and other relevant reports.
“I am reasonably confident that the consultations between the House and the Presidency will yield positive results in the interest of the striking lecturers and the students.’’
ASUU had been on strike since February 14, 2022, to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, which amounts to N1.1 trillion, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), payment of promotion arrears and the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court and through the Federal Government’s lead counsel filed an application for an interlocutory injunction, seeking an order of the court restraining striking lecturers from further continuing with the strike.
Despite a ruling by the National Industrial Court on September 21, 2022, ordering them to return to work, the University lecturers have remained adamant and subsequently through its lawyers, filed an appeal against the court ruling.
After no breakthrough in negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government, the Appeal court on Friday ordered the striking lecturers to resume duty immediately.
The Court also granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court, while insisting that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from October 7”.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Friday said the country would soon hear from President Muhammadu Buhari on the protracted ASUU strike.
Gbajabiamila, who met with the President at the State House for the second time in one week over the ASUU strike, said discussions with the President were fruitful, adding that Buhari would make known his decisions to the public after reviewing the lawmakers’ recommendations.