The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ended its week-long strike yesterday, asking lecturers nationwide to return to their classrooms, even as negotiations continued with the federal government, especially on one of the crucial demands by the union that government must exempt universities in the country from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
The policy requires all federal government institutions to domicile their funds with the TSA in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The clarification by ASUU came amid mixed messages from the union that it was set to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike.
Speaking to THISDAY in a phone interview, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, debunked reports that the union had declared an indefinite strike.
He, however, told THISDAY that the union was making progress, especially with the intervention of the Senate.
“In the next one or two meetings, if we are able to get a clear path to the matter, we will avoid elongation of the strike.
“I have been receiving these reports that ASUU says the strike continues, no. The strike ends today (yesterday). All lecturers are to go back to work tomorrow morning (today),” Ogunyemi stated.
On the vexed issue of the TSA, one of the critical policies ASUU is vehemently opposed to, Ogunyemi said: “On TSA, we are getting positive responses, though we don’t know how far they are willing to go.”
Also, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr. Clement Iloh, told THISDAY that part of the strategy was to look at ASUU’s demands, particularly as it concerns Endowment Fund but not TSA as a whole.
Iloh said: “It is not just the TSA, ASUU also talked about the Endowment Fund. What ASUU presented was the Endowment Fund. The TSA is a government policy, so it has so many components.”