Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has revealed that only two conditions would make the union end the ongoing strike and return to classrooms.
The union president disclosed this while speaking at a national town hall meeting on tertiary education in Abuja on Thursday, September 14, 2022, he said ASUU was still open to discussions with the government on the issues that led to the strike.
Osodeke said if there is a “concrete agreement” with the Federal Government and an order by the National Industrial Court (NiC), the strike would be called off.
Public universities across the country have been on the industrial action since Monday, February 14, 2022, except for a few state government-owned universities that pulled out of the strike.
Osodeke said he was disappointed that the Federal Government dragged the union to court for fighting for their rights.
As the NiC begins hearing the case today, Friday, September 16, 2022, the ASUU president said the court action was not in the interest of students, their parents, and the nation.
He said the union had given the government “minimum conditions” to end the strike, adding that he regretted that ASUU had yet to get feedback from the government before the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, dragged the union to the National Industrial Court last week.
He said: “On all these issues, we have given the government a minimum that we can accept, but they have not responded on the issue of revitilisation, on the issue of earned allowance and on issues that we have all discussed.
”We negotiated and agreed that they should sign and this is very simple, not more than one day.
”On UTASU (university Transparency and Accountability Solution) and IPPIS(Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System), we say release the report of the test you did and let’s look at the one who came first and take it as we agreed.
”So, we have given them the minimum we want and we have to come down and they can do it in one day if there is a will.
“If the government loves this country, these children and their parents, then they should come to the table and let us resolve these issues in one day.
“Just as we did in 2014, they should come and ensure that we do that, we can even have the meeting in the open so that Nigerians will see what we are discussing.”
Osodeke maintained that dragging the union to court was not an option as it would further worsen the case of students.
He said that if lecturers are forced to return to classrooms by the court, they won’t teach the students, whose academic progression has been halted since February with open minds.