From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Mixed reactions have trailed the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) decision to call off its 8-month-old strike on Friday.
The decision to suspend the strike was taken at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ASUU which was held at the union’s secretariat in Abuja.
ASUU went on strike in February due to none-implementation of agreement with the Federal government on issues bothering on funding for revitalisation of public universities; Earned Academic Allowances; proliferation of public universities; adoption of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative
payment platform in the university system and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
After series of failed negotiations, between the government side and the union, the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige dragged the striking lecturers to the National Industrial Court requesting that they be ordered back to work.
The court on 21 September ordered ASUU to call off the strike.
Displeased by the ruling, the union headed to the appeal court to appeal the judgment. However the appeal court also ruled in favour of the government asking ASUU to resume work.
In a statement announcing the suspension of the strike, ASUU National President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, regretted that issues leading to the strike were yet to be met satisfactorily.
He said the union called off the strike due to the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the appeals made by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him“However, as a law-abiding Union and in deference to appeals by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and in recognition of the efforts of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other well meaning Nigerians, ASUU NEC resolved to suspend the strike action embarked upon on 14th February 2022. Consequently, all members of ASUU are hereby directed to resume all services hitherto withdrawn with effect from 12:01 on Friday, 14th October, 2022.”
While some students have expressed excitement over the end of the protracted strike and the prospect of finally returning to class, others have expressed disappointment that the union was unable to accomplish its goal after such a long time and had to settle for a conditional suspension of the strike despite wasting the students’ time for nine months.
Another category of students have also lamented that the window given by ASUU for students to resume is too short for parents to meet up with.
Wale Banjo, a student of University of Ibadan described the suspension of the eight months strike as a huge relief.
“It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve been praying for the ASUU-FG face-off to end and it has.
Brenda Audu, 200 level student of Nasarrawa State university said: “I’m super excited. As a final year student, I’ve been itching to graduate and pursue other dreams but the strike slowed me down. Now it’s over, I can’t wait to return to school”
Miracle Onyema 500 level student of University of Nigeria Nsukka, said: “Well, at least graduation is in view.”
But according to Oluwa Philip, Congratulations are not in order for he does not consider the strike suspension a feat for the students. “Do you know the level of stagnation of peoples career, goals, etc? Some persons would have been through with BSc, MSc and move on to greater things, but are stuck. What exactly are you congratulating for?” He queried.
Taking to her Twitter handle,
@ayamgifted wrote: “After wasting 8months of our time, ASUU is now calling off strike, ‘ CONDITIONALLY, which means, they have gone into another agreement wit the FG, which we don’t know . So by the time FG did not meet up with this condition that made ASUU to call off this strike. They strike again.
@ummaru34 write: “What’s good about jubilating that the strike have been called off. The strike was call off yesterday and asking the students to return Monday. Do you think our parents have money printing machine? Is almost end of the year where things are hard, this Asuu are so selfish, their.
@Harribeks lamented: “Then, schools would begin setting deadlines for the payment of school fees, putting false pressure on parents of students who have done nothing wrong to bring their children to school.”
Sisi Mi said: “Federal government gained somethingASUU gained something.What did the student that has been at home for the past 8 months gain? Maybe when govt start paying students anytime asuu decides to go on strike, they wouldn’t want to owe lecturers again”
“So I heard ASUU has called off her 8 months strike. Absolutely great. But, I hope all what they were asking for was met? I hope the Fed govt has given them all what the asked? I know 4 lectures that lost their lives during this Course. I hope all this was worth it?” @nsik100, wrote.