The National Coordinator, National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Chief Babs Animashaun,on Tuesday described lecturers’ suspension of their five-month-old strike as the best Christmas gift to Nigerians.

Animashaun spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos shortly after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspended the strike.

The strike kept students out of classes in public universities since July 1 as the union pressed for implementation of an agreement it signed with the Federal Government in 2009.

Animashaun said that the suspension was heart warming and a sign of good things to come in 2014.

“With this development, ASUU has given the whole nation, the best Christmas present and a cause to merry.

“We, as parents, indeed want to thank the lecturers for the long struggle and all they went through in ensuring that some sanity is restored in our public universities.

“The universities should be our pride as a people and a country,” he said.

“I know that parents, students and others shall be very happy in the New Year which, I predict, will be a year of happiness and peace for all of us,” he said.

Also reacting, Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, Director, Quality Assurance, National Universities Commission, said that the development was welcome and long overdue.

Mafiana told NAN on telephone that the Federal Government’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ASUU set the pace for the calling off of the strike.

“We are glad that the whole issue has been resolved; now it is time for everyone to go back to business,” he said.

Mafiana urged university authorities to put necessary machineries in place for smooth resumption of academic and allied activities.

“However, one of the attendant implications of this is that some universities may not be able to admit students for the next session,” he said.

The don said that since the government had done what was expected of it, the lecturers must reciprocate by showing enough commitment to their duties.

Dr Olubunmi Ajibade, Senior Lecturer, Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, said that suspending the strike after much deliberation was a welcome development.

“We have always been on ground in our respective universities, carrying out other responsibilities apart from teaching.

“We only restrained ourselves from teaching but have been quietly attending to the other needs of our students and other academic matters such as research.

“It is good to go back to class to do what we know how to do best. I am sure that our students who are already on ground will be eager to resume,” he said.

On how the lecturers will make up for the lost period, Ajibade said that there would be a reduction of holiday periods.

According to him, the University of Lagos has come up with its own academic calendar in which resumption has been fixed for Jan. 6, 2014.

He expressed optimism that with the plan by institutions to reduce holidays, both students and lecturers would make up for the lost period.

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