Update on ASUU NEC Meeting:Leaders met, set to suspendstrike -Punch

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Ilohzidane

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There is strong indication that
academic activities may resume in the
nation’s public universities early next
week, Saturday Punch has gathered. Our correspondent gathered on Friday
that members of the National
Executive Council of the Academic Staff
Union of the Universities again
converged on Kano to deliberate on
whether to call off their over four months old industrial action or not. The NEC members, who gathered at
the Bayero University, Kano,
penultimate week to review the
reports of the various university
congresses over the strike, suspended
the meeting following the death of Dr. Festus Iyayi. Iyayi, a University of
Benin lecturer and former ASUU
president, who died in an auto
accident involving the convoy of the
Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada, on his
way to Kano to attend the NEC meeting. There has been no date yet for the
interment of his remains. However, feelers from Kano on Friday
indicated that the ASUU members went
into hiding for the meeting. One of our correspondents gathered
that the NEC members, who
reconvened in BUK, on Thursday,
retired to a secret location for the
meeting. Reporters made frantic efforts to trace
the venue of the meeting without
success. But many vehicles belonging to the
members of the union were seen on
campus. But a member of ASUU NEC, who
craved anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak on the
development, confirmed to our
correspondent that the union leaders
were converging on Kano for the meeting. According to him, though the union
has lost a leading member and an
academic, they were mindful of the
feelings of the students and the public
over the protracted industrial action. He noted that all the union’s national
officers as well as other branch
chairmen had arrived at the ancient
city for the assembly. However, attempts by our
correspondent on Friday evening to
reach out to the University of Lagos
chapter ASUU Chairman, Dr. Karo
Ogbinaka, to confirm the meeting
failed, as he did not pick his calls. He also did not respond to the text
message sent to his telephone. Ogbinaka had earlier said the
academic community was mourning
Iyayi and so was not in a hurry to fix a
new date for the NEC meeting. The telephone line of the union’s
National President, Dr.Nassir Fagge,
also did not go through. President Goodluck Jonathan had led
a Federal Government team that met
with the leadership of the union
penultimate week. Following the discussion, the FG
reportedly promised to inject N220bn
yearly into the public universities for
the next five years. The new offer is to
begin from 2014. A majority of the chapters of the union
had agreed on the suspension of the
strike following the fresh commitment
the leadership of ASUU obtained from
the FG. Teachers in the nation’s three but 78
public universities embarked on strike
on July 1, 2013 to protest the failure of
the FG to implement the agreement
they signed with the authorities in
2009. The pact largely centered on greater
funding of the universities, a
declaration of a state of emergency in
tertiary education, better wages as
well as payment of earned allowances
to lecturers.

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