Strike: Nigerian Government makes U-turn, withdraws letter asking vice-chancellors to reopen Universities

Nigerian government has withdrawn its earlier directive asking the management of federal universities to reopen the institutions “to ensure that the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resume and commence lectures immediately.”

The latest development was contained in another letter by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and dated 26 September.

Like the earlier copy containing the “marching order,” the new letter was also signed by NUC’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Abubakar Rasheed.

The agency had earlier on Friday directed the management of all federal universities to comply with the order of the National Industrial Court (NIC) directing ASUU members to return to classrooms pending the determination of the substantive matter before it.

The government had asked the pro chancellors and vice-chancellors to ensure that the striking lecturers resume and commence lectures immediately.


The government’s directive had caused confusion for the university management as the vice-chancellors were unsure of how to go about the decision.

The confusion is reinforced by the pending application for a stay of execution at the appeal court by the counsel to the striking union, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

But the new letter by the NUC which was addressed to the pro-chancellors and vice-chancellors of the federal universities is titled; “Withdrawal of Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 Dated 23rd September 2022.”

The new letter referenced NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136 and dated 26 September, reads in part; “I have been directed to withdraw the National Universities Commission (NUC) circular Ref, NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 and dated 23rd September 2022 on the above subject. Consequently, the said Circular stands withdrawn.

“All Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils, as well as Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.”

The letter, however, did not give reasons for the withdrawal but it might not be unconnected to the criticisms by many Nigerians who have taken to social media to comment on the development.

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