The Federal Government has directed vice-chancellors of all Federal universities currently on strike to immediately re-open for academic and allied activities as directed by their pro-chancellors on Tuesday.
The Committee of Pro-chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities had on Tuesday, unanimously ordered immediate re-opening of universities across the country.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the committee meeting to discuss the protracted strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other issues affecting the Nigerian university system, and signed by its Chairman, Professor Kimse Okoko, the Pro Chancellors said the decision to re-open the universities was unanimously agreed by all pro-chancellors in the overall interest of all concerned.
The pro-chancellors, in the communique, directed all vice chancellors to comply with the committee decision. The pro-chancellors were said to have reached the decision following findings that over 60 percent of ASUU members have voted in favour of suspension of the over four months old strike.
Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education, in a statement he read at a press conference in Abuja said the decision of the pro-chancellors must be carried out.
The Minister also asked the vice-chancellors to ensure that staff who resume for work are provided with the enabling environment to carry out academic activities.
The Minister said any staff who failed to resume on or before December 4, 2013 automatically ceases to be a staff of the institution and that vice-chancellors are allowed to advertise vacancies for their positions in their institutions.
The Minister said this step became necessary because
the Federal Government has come to the conclusion that the continued industrial action is an attempt by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to sabotage all efforts to address the issues, despite the commitment of government.
Wike said as a responsible government, the federal government cannot allow the continuous closure of public institutions as it poses danger to the education system and the future of Nigerian youths.
The Minister also directed the National Universities Commission (NUC) to ensure compliance of the directives by the various institutions.
P.M.NEWS also learnt that the Minister will meet with VCs of Federal Universities on Friday.
Strike by university lecturers has grounded academic activities at all public universities since July 1, 2013 following dispute over the July 1, 2009 agreement between ASUU and the federal government on funding of universities and payment of some allowances to the teachers, among others.
The lecturers also demanded the payment of N92 billion as backlog of earned allowances agreed to but which the FG has not paid since 2009.
But after an all night negotiation the federal government, earlythis month, made a new offer of a yearly payment of N220 billion over the next five years starting from 2014 in furtherance of the contentious implementation of the 2009 agreement to ASUU. However, government said will only release N100 billion it had earlier offer to ASUU for 2013.
The National Executive meeting of ASUU which was to consider the offer and decide on whether to call off the strike or not was called off following the death of the former President of the Union, Professor Festus Iyayi on 11 November in an accident which involved the convoy of the Kogi State Governor. Iyayi was on his way to Kano to attend the ASUU NEC meeting scheduled for 13 November.
The Union subsequently suspended the meeting following the death of Iyayi, though most of its chapters had earlier voted to suspend the strike.
But the Union said early this week stated that it will only call off the strike after a meeting with President Jonathan and payment of the arrears of salaries of its members which were not paid during the strike.
Even before Thursday order by the government, some Vice Chancellors have ordered the re-opening of their universities.
Via: PM News