Nigerian students in public universities may be returning to classrooms soon as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has agreed to suspend its ongoing six-month old warning roll-over strike.
This was as the union revealed that the federal government has finally agreed to adopt the ASUU-backed University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for lecturers.
But the university lecturers insisted that they will suspend the ongoing industrial action and return to classrooms immediately only if the federal government agrees to sign the agreement on UTAS.
President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this on Monday when he appeared on “Politics Today”, a popular programme on Channels Television.
Professor Osodoke said the federal government invited the union for a meeting on Tuesday (today) on the issue of renegotiation.
The ASUU President maintained that the union will suspend the warning strike if the federal government agrees to its demands at today’s meeting.
His words, “We have not had any serious communication though they have invited us for a meeting on one issue, tomorrow (referring to Tuesday), which is the issue of renegotiation,” he said.
“You know that there are seven issues why we are on strike. They are inviting for discussion on issue of renegotiation, tomorrow, which is renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
“The issues of IPPIS and UTAS has been put to rest because the test has been done and it has been agreed with the chief of staff, UTAS will be implemented to cover the university.
“Two, if this government is serious, this strike will not last more than two weeks. If you recall we were going to suppose to go on strike in November, we didn’t start it because NIREC came in and intervened. We conceded to them.
“They met with the president, he set up a committee headed by the chief of staff that should resolve this quickly, the world saw it in the press, they did nothing. The president set up the Munzali committee, we met them , nothing, they didn’t come back.
“They set up the Nimi Briggs committee, it’s now more than three months, two months we finished negotiating with them, they didn’t come back. The president directed the Ministry of Education to finish within two weeks, two weeks has passed, they didn’t come back.
“If we go into that meeting tomorrow and government say what we have negotiated, we are willing to sign, the strike will be called off.”
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over government’s failure to adopt UTAS against the FG’s preferred Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) payment platform, among other demands.