Paul Akomolehin, Lokoja

DAILY COURIER – The various branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), have voted overwhelmingly to suspend its ongoing strike.

The branches summoned congresses based on the directive of the national body on Wednesday, and members resolved to ask the National Executive Council (NEC) to suspend the industrial action.

The decisions of the various congresses of ASUU will be tabled and discussed at an emergency NEC meeting scheduled for Thursday, in Abuja.

A principal officer of the union said each congress was briefed by the chairmen on the outcome of the meeting of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabimila, with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“A major outcome of the Speaker’s meeting with Mr. President is the acceptance of the Federal Government to pay four months out of the eight months’ salaries after ASUU suspends the strike.

“The president agreed that the remaining four months outstanding salaries will be paid before the end of the years to academic staff in federal universities”, the source said, adding that it was a positive outcome that the various congresses voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike and the decision will be taken to NEC meeting for ratification.

The ASUU official disclosed that NEC will certainly demand that the government offer be documented and signed so that it will not generate another crisis.

On other outstanding demands, the source said ASUU’s position on the new payment platform, revitalisation fund, and signing of the Nimi Briggs re-negotiation agreement has not changed.

“Those critical outstanding demands are sacrosanct. It is crucial to the survival of public universities. We hope when the strike is suspended, the government will put machinery in motion to conclude the re-negotiation and both parties sign the agreement”, he stated.

According to him, many of the branch chairmen are on their way to Abuja for the crucial NEC meeting but were silent on when the universities reopen for academic activities.

“The issue of resumption will be decided by NEC after consultation. It is the sole responsibility of NEC and members will comply”, he added.