By Adesina Wahab
Though what the Federal Government offered striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, fell beyond the lecturers’ expectations, they agreed to suspend their eight months industrial action because of the economic situation in the country and pressures from some stakehoders.
The decision was not based on the negotiating ability of the government team which the union has not been comfortable with, checks by Vanguard have revealed.
As ASUU and FG teams met penultimate Friday, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that Nigeria had gone into another round of economic recession, as the Gross Domestic Products, GDP, shrank for the second consecutive quarter.
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The fact was corroborated by the World Bank which described the recession as the worst in over 30 years.
A leader of ASUU, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said if the union was to consider government’s handling of the issue, the strike could go on for a very long time.
“Though the government tried to paint us as the aggressor and engaged on futile propaganda, we won’t be deterred. Yes, we all know the poor state of the economy now, but even when everything was going on well, what did the government do with the revenue? What are they doing now to make things better?
“Many well-meaning Nigerians and groups have been in contact with us, appealing to us too. We are ready to soft-pedal on some conditions which we hope the government will not bungle,” the source said.
With the government adding N5 billion to the N65 billion it promised paying for the revitalisation of the system and for the payment of Earned Academic Allowances and also promising to clear the withheld salaries of lecturers before the end of the year, the coast is now clear for universities to resume.