Last updated on October 13th, 2023 at 09:10 am
After nearly eight months of strike, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is ready to call off its strike.
Senior human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has declared that this crucial decision in the education sector will be made soon and could not come at a more pressing time than now.
The strike was initiated to demand for improved funding and better working conditions for teachers as well as to resist planned increases in tuition fees by university managements nationwide.
ASUU members started their indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday 8th March 2021, vowing not to go back to work until their demands were met by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The union had argued that Nigerian universities are facing under-funding leading to inadequate learning materials and infrastructure, poor staffing levels and non-payment of salaries and other benefits owed lecturers.
This has lead many universities – both private and public – to increase tuition fees dramatically without proper consultation with staff or students while student loans are becoming increasingly hard to come by with no guarantee of repayment terms being followed upon graduation.
The government in response set up a negotiation team headed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and comprised representatives from various stakeholder groups so that they could all discuss mutually beneficial solutions regarding the issue at hand.
Talks have been ongoing between the government and ASUU with both sides showing increasing signs of agreement when it comes to increased funding for Nigerian universities all over the country coupled with more progressive repayment schemes for student loans taken out by current students across all degree programs
With an overall positive progress achieved during these negotiations thus far, Mr Falana has suggested that this protracted industrial action will eventually be called off within the short term.
Following further talks from both ends which would undoubtedly see everyone involved benefit from a better educational experience in Nigeria than ever before
Falana, who is the ASUU’s counsel revealed this at a book launch ‘Breaking Coconut With Your Head’ by Lanre Arogundade on Monday in Lagos.
He hinted that the industrial action will be concluded outside the courtroom in his reaction to the appellate court’s order that the public universities’ lecturers should return to classrooms.
The federal government and ASUU since February 14 have been at loggerheads over demands of proper funding of the university educational system to a global standard.