President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, met with the Chairman and selected members of Pro-Chancellors of Federal universities in a bid to end the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Lecturers of the Federal government owned universities had embarked on strike since February 14, 2022, to demand the release of revitalisation funds for universities; deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System (UTAS) for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers; release of earned allowances; the release of the white paper report of the visitation panels to universities and other issues involving the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement.
The Federal government had set up a negotiation team to look into the Union’s demand.
However, amid several failed negotiations, the Government approached the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, to order ASUU to suspend its strike while it engaged the union to address the dispute.
Meeting at the State House, Abuja, with the Chairman and select members of Pro-Chancellors on Friday, President Buhari promised to engage in further consultations with relevant stakeholders, to end the protracted strike by varsity lecturers.
The president said without necessarily going back on what is already established policy, “I will make further consultations, and I’ll get back to you.”
The Pro-Chancellors, who were led to the meeting by Professor Nimi Briggs, said they had come to meet with the President in three capacities: “As President and Commander-in-Chief, as father of the nation, and as Visitor to the Federal universities.”
Professor Briggs added that despite the pall cast by more than seven months of industrial action, “the future of the university system in the country is good,” citing as an example, the recent listing of the University of Ibadan among the first 1,000 universities in the world, a development occurring for the first time.
He commended the Federal government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5% across board, and 35% for Professors. He, however, asked for “further inching up of the salary, in view of the economic situation of the country.”
The Pro-Chancellors also asked for a reconsideration of the No-Work, No-Pay stance of the government, promising that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation was reached, and schools reopened.
Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said all the concessions made by the Federal Government were to ensure that the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant.
– Media Report