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University lecturers on Friday returned to work after the Academic Staff Union of Universities suspended its eight-month strike.

However, findings by Saturday PUNCH revealed that the academics had yet to get the assent of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) regarding the plan for a new agreement and the no-work-no-pay policy.

It was also learnt that the duty of paying earned academic allowances would from 2024 be the responsibility of the governing councils of the universities.

The union suspended the protracted strike which began on February 14 after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Thursday.

University lecturers on Friday returned to work after the Academic Staff Union of Universities suspended its eight-month strike.

However, findings by Saturday PUNCH revealed that the academics had yet to get the assent of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) regarding the plan for a new agreement and the no-work-no-pay policy.

It was also learnt that the duty of paying earned academic allowances would from 2024 be the responsibility of the governing councils of the universities.

The union suspended the protracted strike which began on February 14 after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council held at the Comrade Festus Iyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, Abuja, on Thursday.

“The Court of Appeal acknowledged the validity of the grounds of the union’s appeal but still upheld the order of the lower court and ordered our union to comply with the ruling of the lower court as a condition precedent for the appeal to be heard.

“While appreciating the commendable efforts of the leadership of the House of Representatives and other patriotic Nigerians who waded into the matter, NEC noted with regrets that the issues in dispute are yet to be satisfactorily addressed.”

Outstanding issues

Speaking with one of our correspondents in Abuja under the condition of anonymity, a highly respected member of the National Executive Council of the union expressed displeasure that the lecturers were compelled by the court order to resume amid pending issues.

“We only resumed because of the court order. Yes, the Speaker intervened but to be honest, we haven’t got the green light from the President (Buhari). (On) the issue of earned allowances, no sharing modality has been cemented; the no-work-no-pay policy has not been resolved. The condition of service has not been agreed upon. Though the Speaker suggested that the model used for lecturers at Rivers State University, where professors earn more than N1 million a month be used, the President has yet to say a word.

“For the earned allowances, the last one the government will pay will be 2023. Afterward, the governing councils will be responsible for earned allowances from 2024. I also assume that you know that the issue of UTAS has not really been cemented; all they said was that IPPIS will be modified to accommodate UTAS,” the NEC member said.

Strike regrettable, unfortunate, says Gbajabiamila

While commending the lecturers for returning to work, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was regrettable that the union went on strike for a long period.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement on Friday titled, “Statement by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on the Suspension of Strike Action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities,” added, “I am confident that the House will endeavour to ensure that the Federal Government keeps its commitments to the union and universities.”

“The Court of Appeal acknowledged the validity of the grounds of the union’s appeal but still upheld the order of the lower court and ordered our union to comply with the ruling of the lower court as a condition precedent for the appeal to be heard.

“While appreciating the commendable efforts of the leadership of the House of Representatives and other patriotic Nigerians who waded into the matter, NEC noted with regrets that the issues in dispute are yet to be satisfactorily addressed.”

Outstanding issues

Speaking with one of our correspondents in Abuja under the condition of anonymity, a highly respected member of the National Executive Council of the union expressed displeasure that the lecturers were compelled by the court order to resume amid pending issues.

“We only resumed because of the court order. Yes, the Speaker intervened but to be honest, we haven’t got the green light from the President (Buhari). (On) the issue of earned allowances, no sharing modality has been cemented; the no-work-no-pay policy has not been resolved. The condition of service has not been agreed upon. Though the Speaker suggested that the model used for lecturers at Rivers State University, where professors earn more than N1 million a month be used, the President has yet to say a word.

“For the earned allowances, the last one the government will pay will be 2023. Afterward, the governing councils will be responsible for earned allowances from 2024. I also assume that you know that the issue of UTAS has not really been cemented; all they said was that IPPIS will be modified to accommodate UTAS,” the NEC member said.

Strike regrettable, unfortunate, says Gbajabiamila

While commending the lecturers for returning to work, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was regrettable that the union went on strike for a long period.

Gbajabiamila, in a statement on Friday titled, “Statement by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on the Suspension of Strike Action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities,” added, “I am confident that the House will endeavour to ensure that the Federal Government keeps its commitments to the union and universities.”

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