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The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities on Monday suspended its one month, six days strike.
The union has however said its battle with government is far from over.
ASUU said it was suspending the strike till end of October for government to fulfill its pledges.
The union directed university lecturers to resume duty from today, Tuesday.
The suspension of the strike was announced on Monday evening after a meeting with the government delegation.
At the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the federal government delegation led by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.
Mr. Ngige had earlier said both parties produced “collective agreement of action” after the meeting.
ASUU embarked on an indefinite strike on August 13, following government’s failure to implement the agreement reached with the union in November 2016.
The union has now issued a detailed statement explaining why it agreed to ceasefire, and what it will do if the government reneged on the agreement.
Read the statement below.
ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU)
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES HELD IN RESPECT OF THE NATIONWIDE STRIKE ACTION AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA ON MONDAY, 18TH SEPTEMBER, 2017. 

PROTOCOLS
Compatriots of the Press,
As part of the avowed commitment of our Union, ASUU, to building a virile Nigerian state, we address Nigerians through you once again on matters that are critical to the stability, security and development of our nation, particularly on the place of education and the constant affront against it by successive governments in Nigeria. Life has almost lost meaning to the average Nigerian today. Stories of suicide, insurrection and brigandage are commonplace with the degradation of educational and other institutional frameworks for apprehending the perversion of our cherished values. Sadly, our leaders live in affluence while the people wallow in absolute poverty, which suggests callousness and indifference to the plight of the rest of Nigerians, and generates insecurity and violent conflict.
The place of education in the life and development of any country is generally acknowledged. Any nation that neglects education does so to its peril. Unfortunately, our country has chosen to follow this perilous path, over the years. The Academic Staff Union of Universities, our Union, has consistently called the attention of our country to, and challenged government after government on, the need to give education a pride of place in driving national development. While these struggles have yielded some substantive fruits, it is sad to note that the apathy and subterfuge of successive governments have resulted in incremental regrettable loss of progress and growth in the education sector, manifesting particularly in the deterioration and decay of the university system, with their negative consequences for the Nigerian society.
The Negotiating Teams searched for, and arrived at minimal conditions for reversing the decay in the University System. Although the re-negotiation was completed in 2008, it took the government over a year to sign the Agreement – in 2009.
The failure of the Governments to implement substantial parts of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement led to series of warning strikes and, ultimately, a total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action in 2011/2012. These actions forced the government to conduct a nationwide assessment of the needs for addressing the rot and decay in our public universities. The Needs Assessment Report, released in July 2012, called for immediate and comprehensive intervention and revitalization of the universities. Unfortunately, although the government approved this report, it did not make any effort to address the issues raised. The failure of series of consultations, dialogues and interventions by well-meaning Nigerians to get government to do the right thing, once again, compelled our Union to embark on another strike action in 2013. The resolution of that strike action culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government on 11th December, 2013. The goal of the MoU is to reinforce the compelling need to implement the provisions of the extant Agreements/MoU on the increased funding of public universities.
Major items of the 2013 MoU include:
1) Fund for revitalization of the university system, amounting to N1.3 trillion in 6 years, based on yearly release of N220 billion, starting with N200 billion in 2013.
2) A dedicated revitalization account to be opened by FGN with CBN to warehouse the fund.

3) A central Monitoring Committee to monitor the implementation of the revitalization of the universities.
4) Payment of outstanding balance of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) after verification of the level of payment made from the initial of N30 billion.
5) Engagement of the services of public universities in special consultancy as a way of boosting IGR of the universities.
It is true that Government raised the hope of Nigerians on the promise of addressing the rot and decay in Nigerian public universities with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and release of the initial sum of N200 billion. However, and unfortunate for Nigeria, the hope has since been dashed. Indeed, the current government has revealed that the said N200bn was taken from the TETFund intervention account. This, no doubt, is a case of robbing Peter to pay Peter. The Needs Assessment Intervention Funds were to be raised from other sources to complement the efforts of TETFund, not to undermine an agency which is a product of ASUU struggles. TETFund was not, and is not, meant to be a “cash cow” for the political class and our Union will continue to challenge any attempt to derail it from its original mandate.
There is always a question – Why must ASUU adopt the strike option considering its impact on the quality of education which the Union wants to raise? The answer to this is simple. ASUU’s resolve to forge a hitch-free academic calendar has been proven by the utmost restraint which it usually showed before embarking on strike action. ASUU as a national body did not embark on any strike between December 2013 and November 2016. ASUU’s strikes are forced on it by the tendency of the Federal and State Governments to renege on the agreements freely entered into by them. Successive Governments have demonstrated a strong antagonism to the patriotic goals underlying ASUU’s agitations.
ISSUES IN THE CURRENT DISPUTE
Comrades and compatriots, the current strike has been necessitated by the non-implementation of the 2009 Agreement, 2013 MoU and the 2016 resolutions reached in the course of ASUU’s talks with representatives of the Federal Government under the chairmanship of the Senate President. Specifically, the issues in dispute are:
1. Funding for the Revitalization of Public Universities
2. Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)
3. Registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO) and Pension Matters.
4. Universities Staff Schools
5. Fractionalization and Non-Payment of Salaries
6. Exemption of the University System from TSA
7. Poor funding and the proliferation of State Universities
With the commencement of the ongoing action on 12th August, 2017, we have held series of meetings and deliberations with the representatives of the Federal Government and arrived at a number of resolutions. These are captured in a Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed today, 18th September, 2017. For the avoidance of doubt, the new MoA is action-oriented because each item on the list has a time-line attached.
We want to state, unequivocally, that the continuous breach of trust by successive governments is the root cause of the continuing actions undertaken by our Union. The correct dictum is “Pacta sum servanda” (All agreements must be respected). The current resolutions, like every resolution, in a civil engagement, are based on mutual trust. It is our ardent hope that our trust will not be yet again misplaced. Consistent with the said prompt response, we expect that this government will abide strictly by all the timelines set out in the current resolutions. Our union deems it necessary to give a precautionary advice: should government unilaterally vary the agreement(s) it has signed with our union, we should not be held responsible for the consequences.
CONDITIONAL SUSPENSION OF THE STRIKE ACTION
After an elaborate and extensive consultation process, the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU has agreed to conditionally suspend the ongoing action, taking into cognizance that major proposals from government to address the contending issues in the strike action has a deadline of the end of October, 2017.
All members of ASUU are to resume work after their branch congresses tomorrow, 19th September, 2017. However, ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government reneges on the signed Memorandum of Action.
As a Union of intellectuals, ASUU shall not relent in confronting all human and artificial barriers to a transformed university education for the betterment of Nigerians and our dear Nation. For us, this may be a life-time project. We owe it to prosperity, for the sake of our children and their children’s children.
We thank all Nigerians for their understanding of the irrepressible concern and concerted efforts of ASUU for an educational system and Nigeria of our dream. In particular, our appreciation goes to members of the Press and our dear students who at various stages engaged ASUU leadership for clarifications on the basis of our struggle. Together we can make Nigerian universities enviable. Until and unless this happens, ASUU will not rest.
The struggle continues!

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