Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, human rights activist and Interim Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to sign the renegotiated agreement with the Academic Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU). This is to put an end to the strike of university lecturers and the suffering of students.
He said that it is public knowledge that the Federal Government inaugurated the Renegotiation Committee headed by Professor Munzali Jubrin in December 2020. The Committee was saddled with the sole responsibility of addressing the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) about the task of revamping all federal universities in the country.
After extensive consultations with all the relevant stakeholders, the Committee completed the national assignment and submitted a comprehensive report to the Federal Government in May 2021. Regrettably, the Agreement, according to Falana, was not signed by the Federal Government nine months after the submission of the said report. Hence, ASUU embarked on the current industrial action.
He said further:
“However, the industrial action has been allowed to drag on for almost five months due to the dissatisfaction of the Federal Government with certain aspects of the report of the Jibrin Renegotiate Committee. Instead of ironing out the grey areas in the Agreement, the Federal Government turned around to set up another Renegotiated Committee under the leadership of Professor Nimi Briggs in March 2022. The Committee has also submitted its report to the Federal Government. Even though the Federal government and the ASUU have reached an understanding to call off the ongoing strike based on the execution of the report of the Briggs Committee the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige has announced the purported rejection of the report. But from the information at our disposal, the Federal Government has not authorised the Minister to reject the Agreement and subject ASUU to a campaign of calumny.
The implication of rejecting the Briggs Renegotiated Committee reports is that the ASUU strike will continue indefinitely. But President Muhammadu Buhari has recently expressed concern over the strike and called on ASUU to call it off saying that”enough is enough”. Based on our consultation with the leadership of ASUU we have confirmed that the entire members of ASUU are fully prepared to call off the strike as soon as the FG/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement is executed by the Federal Government. In this circumstance, we are compelled to call on President Buhari to end the industrial action by directing the Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu to execute the Renegotiated Agreement. The Agreement should be executed as soon as possible in the public interest.”