The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has reiterated its willingness to call off its eight-month strike, expressing optimism that the ongoing talks between the Presidency and the House of Representatives leadership will yield positive results.
Counsel for ASUU, Femi Falana, stated this on Monday in chat with Channels Television after the Court of Appeal in Abuja ordered the striking lecturers to resume academic duties.
“The legal advice that I will give to my clients is confidential. But I can assure you that the strike will soon be called off,” Falana stated.
Falana said he will advise his clients accordingly once the certified true copy of the court order of last Friday has been made available to him.
“Advising clients to call off a strike is the most difficult aspect of my practice. On one occasion, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and I spent six hours persuading Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) to call off a strike in compliance with a court order. Our advice to ASUU will be based on the court order and other relevant reports.
“I am reasonably confident that the consultations between the House and the Presidency will yield positive results in the interest of the striking lecturers and the students,” he added.
Lecturers of public universities have been on strike since February 14, 2022, over poor welfare and unpaid Earned Academic Allowance.
After unfruitful negotiations between ASUU and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the appellate court on Friday ordered the striking lecturers to resume duty immediately.
The Court also granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court, while insisting that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from October 7”.
As talks between ASUU and the Federal Government broke down, Ngige last Tuesday registered two factional academic unions – Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Friday said the country would soon hear from President Muhammadu Buhari on the protracted ASUU strike.
Gbajabiamila, who met with the President at the State House for the second time in one week over the ASUU strike, said discussions with the President were fruitful, adding that Buhari would make known his decisions to the public after reviewing the lawmakers’ recommendations.
During his budget presentation speech at the National Assembly earlier on Friday, Buhari said a total of N470 billion has been earmarked in the 2023 budget for revitalisation and salary enhancements in the nation’s tertiary institutions, addressing some of ASUU’s main demands.