The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday extended its six-month-old strike in Nigeria.
A source within ASUU confirmed that an extension of the strike was the resolution of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the striking university lecturers.
He did not, however, disclose how long the union extended the industrial action.
ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It had then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at its demands.Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.
ASUU said it is seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others.
Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock. One such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja.
But a senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that the Briggs Renegotiation Committee did not come up with a new deal. The anonymous source said the committee had pleaded with the union to suspend the strike and promised that their concerns will be included in next year’s budget.
Since the industrial dispute, several groups and individuals have waded into the matter. The latest is human rights lawyer Femi Falana who asked the Federal Government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the striking workers.
“Instead of engaging in the diversionary tactics of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Government should ensure that the strike is called off by signing the Renegotiated Agreement with ASUU without any further delay,” Falana said in a statement he issued on Sunday.
“While calling on both sides to resume the negotiations in the interest of the country the Federal Government should be prevailed upon to end the prolonged industrial action.”
Two weeks ago, ASUU president Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union has reached an agreement with the government to adopt the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform of lecturers and suspend the strike.
“We have not had any serious communication though they have invited us for a meeting on one issue, tomorrow (Tuesday), which is the issue of renegotiation,” Osodeke said on Channels Television programme Politics Today.
“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 agreement was not signed at the meeting which ended in a deadlock.