ASUU Strike: FG Gives Committee Three Months To Renegotiate Agreement

THE Federal Government (FG) has given the newly-inaugurated committee set up to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) three months to arrive at workable terms.

The committee is chaired by Pro-Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs.

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who spoke while inaugurating the committee on Monday in Abuja, expressed optimism that the outcome of the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement with University-based Unions would engender industrial peace and harmony in public universities in Nigeria.

University lecturers have been on a one-month warning strike which commenced on 14th February 2022, over the failure of the Federal Government  to honour amongst other promises, an improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy.

Adamu, who lamented the incessant strike by ASUU, recalled that the re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreements between the Federal Government and the University-Based Staff Unions -ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) & Non-academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU)-commenced on Monday, 13th February 2017.

According to him, a number of unforeseen circumstances including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic, “the exercise has, unfortunately, dragged on till now”.

He said there was no gainsaying that the earnest desire of every stakeholder in the Nigerian University System (NUS) and, indeed, the nation at large is to conclude this re-negotiation exercise within the shortest possible period.

He therefore appealed to the reconstituted Committee to double its effort towards concluding the assignment and producing a realistic and workable draft Agreements that would holistically tackle the challenges confronting the NUS and reposition it to effectively play its very important role in national development.

The terms of reference handed to the Committee are: “Liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the Federal Government to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement;

“Renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 Agreements with other University-Based Unions.

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“Negotiate and recommend any other issue the Committee deems relevant to reposition the NUS for global competitiveness and submit proposed draft agreements within three (3) months from the date of inauguration.”

The Minister who further assured the Committee of the Federal Government’s maximum support and cooperation in the course of what he described as “important national assignment,” urged them to conduct the assignment with the seriousness and the urgency it deserves, especially in view of the ongoing industrial action by ASUU, saying they were selected for the assignment based on their track records of invaluable impacts on the development and progress of the NUS

Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Nimi Briggs, in his remark, assured the Minister that the Committee would review the proposed draft Agreement with ASUU and other staff Unions while working assiduously to submit draft document within the stipulated time by the Federal Government.

Other members of the committee are Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari, Arc. Lawrence Patrick Ngbale, who represents North East; Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Prof. Funmi Togunu-Bickersteth, representing South West and Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja, Senator Chris Adighije, representing South East.

Also on the team are Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Olu Obafemi from North-Central; Pro-Chancellor, Kano State University of Science & Technology, Prof. Zubairu Iliyasu, representing North West; and Pro-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Mathew Seiyefa from South-South.