There is strong indication that academic activities may resume in the nation’s public universities early next week.
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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