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Nigeria: University strike finally over

After almost five and a half months of public university strike, the Nigerian federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have finally reached an agreement. The memorandum of understanding signed mid-December by both parties foresees the creation of a development fund for the upcoming years.

The agreement stipulates funding for the refurbishment of Nigerian university campuses, payments for outstanding allowances for university staff, as well as consultancy services of university departments for the government. A total of NGN 200 billion (EUR 910 million) will be made available annually for the period 2013-2018. At the following stage, committees will be put in place in order to monitor the distribution of funds. After the agreement had been reached and ASUU president Abdullahi Sule-Kano had called off the strike, the majority of Nigerian public universities began to resume classes in December. A smaller number universities started classes again in January, after the end of public holidays.

The point of contention – an agreement for the period 2009-2011 with promised funding of NGN 1.5 trillion (EUR 6.7 billion) – however has not been completely resolved, as it will have to be renegotiated in the near future. However, dark clouds have already started to gather on the horizon, as ASUU is about to break off a new fight concerning the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) at Nigerian universities in order to create a centralised a payment structure system for academic staff in the country. Oddly enough, ASUU does not seem to be particularly fond of these transparency measures...