By SAMUEL OYADONGHA, Yenagoa
The Academic StaffUnion of Universities (ASUU) has put on hold its planned nationwide indefinite strike action.
The decision to suspend the proposed industrial action, according to ASUU, followed the recent talks held between the union and the Federal Government in the wake of its last month one week warning strike.
ASUU, in a statement issued in Yenagoa by the Niger Delta University (NDU) Chapter and signed by its chairman, Dr. Beke Sese, said the union wants to give the government a benefit of doubt and believes that it will implement the agreements reached in the renewed talks.
Sese said, “As a noble and patriotic Union, ASUU decided at its emergency meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) held on the 15th October, 2011 at the University of Abuja, to reconsider its resolve to declare a nationwide total and indefinite strike action, and give government the benefit of doubt, believing fervently that government would fully abide by our signed memorandum of understanding.”
He added, “it is hoped that this would not be another failed promise” and called on “all well meaning Nigerians, students, parents and the general public to be aware of our efforts, and also join in the struggle to keep university education not only affordable, but also comparable to the best anywhere in the world.”
Sese noted that ASUU and government understood that the Implementation Monitoring Committee should be expanded to include Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Labour & Productivity, and the Budget Office, stressing “the implementation of the above listed issues in the 2009 Agreement would be fast tracked before 22nd November, 2011.”
Government he said requested a period of two months, starting from September 22 and ending November 22, 2011 to address the issues raised by the union which include, funding requirements for revitalizing the Nigerian university system, section 4.2.1 (d) providing for progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020 as well as transfer of federal government’s landed property to universities (4.2.5).
Others include setting up Research and Development Unit by companies operating in Nigeria (4.3.3) and Teaching and Research Equipment (4.3.6), payment of earned allowances and amendment of the Pension/Retirement Age of academics on the Professorial Cadre from 65 to 70 years.”