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ASUU promises to end 8-month strike after meeting Reps

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday promised to end its eight-month-old strike after meeting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila,…

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday promised to end its eight-month-old strike after meeting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other members.ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over the Federal Government’s failure to meeting the agreements reached with the union.

The impromptu meeting, which was a last-minute move to persuade the lecturers, came on the heels of the Friday order by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, that ASUU should return to the classrooms.

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The speaker said the meeting was necessary looking at the situation at hand and the need for the lecturers to call off the strike in the interest of the country’s education and the students who had been kept at home for months.

He said, “This is a recap to seal the deal on what has been a long-fought battle; a long hard road for everybody – for ASUU, the students and the government. As you would recall, some weeks ago the House got involved in this crisis and we had long, tough, intense meetings with ASUU. 

“We had meetings with those on the government side and we are happy to report that as the result of the consultation and intervention of the House, very significant progress has been made and we are more or less at the end of the road save for dotting some “I”s and crossing some “T”s. 

“I believe we have covered ground, covered most of the thorny issues and it is basically, what we have agreed with ASUU is basically to put everything on paper and sign off. I believe if we had met yesterday and the papers had been drawn up, ASUU, I am sure, would have called off the strike today. 

“But we only just met behind closed doors now and so we have to draw up the agreement as I have stated to you, and hopefully in the next couple of days, of course, ASUU has to get back to its bases as well. Once that is agreed, I am very hopeful and very excited about the possibility or probability the strike would be called off in a matter of days.”

“We did this for the sake of our students and children and I hope it would be a thing of the past. I thank you very much, ASUU. I also thank Nigerians for their patience, and the students, having endured these many months. But I believe that this has hopefully come to an end in a matter of days.”

On his part, the ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, commended the House leadership for its intervention adding that their struggle was in the interest of the nation’s education sector.

He said, “We have actually met briefly in the speaker’s office and looked at all issues and he briefed us. And we have taken note of what they have covered. But my union you know we operate bottom up; we don’t take decisions on their behalf without having their consent. 

“So, we have agreed that between now and tomorrow we are going to get some documentation signed that we can take to our members and we will do that as quickly as possible in the interest of all of us Nigerians and the students so that this thing can be resolved as quickly as possible. 

“From what we have seen today, for the first time since this our action started, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel because this is the first time we are having such and we hope this time around there will not be any attempt by person or group to create something that will also make us run into anything again. We hope that this will be the final in the interest of our children.”

While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari and the House for their intervention, Osodeke said the strike was avoidable if the necessary intervention had come before.

“If the way the National Assembly has intervened; if you have done that long ago from the beginning, or those who are in charge of labour and education have done exactly this, we will not be where we are today. 

“We would not have stayed more than two or three weeks in this strike. Strike is all over the world, UK, US, all over but they don’t allow it to last. We hope that by working together in the next few days we will put an end to this particular imbroglio in the Nigerian educational system,” he said.

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