After an overnight National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, the Academic Staff Union of Universities has called an end to its eight-month-long strike.
Official sources confirm the strike’s suspension, adding that an official circular will be issued soon.
“Yes, we have suspended the strike. That was the NEC decision. The President will release an official circular in the morning,” the source said.
According to reports, the NEC meeting was called on Thursday to make the final decision on the eight-month-long strike.
ASUU members had voted on their resolution on the ongoing strike at their branches on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We got the directive after the meeting with the speaker yesterday (Monday). The intervention was timely. Branches will vote between today and tomorrow after which the decisions will be convened to the NEC.” – another source confirmed.
The union’s latest decision comes after a meeting between the union’s leadership and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who convened multiple sessions to mediate between ASUU and the Nigerian government.
Meanwhile, counsel for ASUU, Femi Falana (SAN), had previously stated that the strike, which began on February 14 of this year, will be called off in a few days.
The Nigerian government, represented by Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, had previously met with the ASUU leadership in a number of sessions; however, following what Ngige called “failed negotiations,” the government filed a lawsuit against ASUU before the National Industrial Court.
The National Industrial Court further ruled on September 21 and directed ASUU to halt the strike and go back to class right away after granting the Nigerian government’s request on notice.
ASUU was prohibited from continuing its strike while the Nigerian government’s lawsuit against the union was being adjudicated by the trial judge, Justice Polycarp Hamman, who was adjudicating on the interlocutory injunction.
However, ASUU appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal and also requested that the National Industrial Court’s decision not be put into effect since it was dissatisfied with its decision.
The Appeal Court further highlighted that ASUU has the right to challenge the industrial court’s ruling.
The panel of the Appeal Court agreed with the Nigerian government’s contention that ASUU could not approach the appeal court with “dirty hands,” noting that “should the applicant refuse to obey the ruling (of the lower court), the permission granted shall be promptly annulled.”
The national industrial court however, ordered the lecturers back to work.
The decision was appealed to the appellate court in Abuja, but no hearing was allowed since the judge told ASUU must first abide by the lower court’s decision.