ASUU Suspends Nine-Month-Old Strike

File photo: ASUU National President, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, speaks during his appearance on Sunrise Daily on November 9, 2020.

 

The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) on Wednesday “conditionally” suspended its strike, ending a protracted industrial action that started since March 2020.

ASUU National President, Biodun Ogunyemi made the announcement during a briefing of the union in Abuja, explaining that the development followed the agreement reached with the Federal Government and a meeting with its National Executive Council (NEC).

He said the suspension of the strike takes effect from Thursday, December 24th, 2020.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends PTF Mandate Till March 2021

While warning that the union would return to strike without notice if the government fails in meeting its part of the agreement reached with the university lecturers, Ogunyemi noted that the reopening of the schools, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, lies with the Federal Government and senate of the universities.

Professor Ogunyemi thanked students and their parents for their understanding throughout the nine-month period and said: “no amount of sacrifice would be too much to get the matter resolved as long as the government is consistent with its commitments.”

READ ALSO: Four Senior Police Officers Sacked For Misconduct

On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) tussle, the ASUU boss noted that both parties have agreed on the University Transparency Account System (UTAS), noting, however, that the university lecturers’ salary arrears will be paid by the government on a different platform.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government had expressed optimism that ASUU will soon return to the classroom after a meeting with the lecturers.

READ ALSO: What Nigeria Must Do To Enjoy Lasting Legacy From Health Sector Investment – Buhari

Tuesday’s meeting came a month after the federal government offered a cumulative N65 billion to the lecturers to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

Ngige Anticipates End To Strike As FG, ASUU Resume Negotiations

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is hopeful that the ongoing strike by university lecturers will soon be called off.

He made the remark on Tuesday as the Federal Government resumes negotiations with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end the industrial action that has crippled academic activities in universities for about nine months.

Ngige, in his opening address at the meeting held in Abuja, urged the academics led by the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, to ensure the discussions yielded the desired result.

According to him, the government has addressed all grey areas, and those who plan to occupy the streets in January 2021 to begin an #EndStrike protest will be disappointed.

READ ALSO: Buhari Extends PTF Mandate Till March 2021

Professor Ogunyemi, on his part, acknowledged that much progress has been made in the negotiations so far.

He was also hopeful that the meeting would end the long strike as his colleagues were all ready and willing to get back to work provided the government does what it ought to do.

After the minister and the ASUU president gave their remarks, the meeting entered into a technical session while journalists were barred from covering the proceedings.

Tuesday’s meeting comes a month after the Federal Government offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion to the lecturers to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

At the meeting held on November 20, Ngige noted that the government had decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues that have kept students out of the classroom since March.

He explained that in its bid to resolve the impasse with ASUU, the sum of N15 billion from the amount offered by the government would be for more funds to revitalise the universities.

The minister stated that the fund was in addition to the N20 billion paid earlier, making it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government.

Professor Ogunyemi had also at the end of the meeting acknowledged that the government had made some new offers to the union and progress had been made.

He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.

It Is Baseless For ASUU To Demand Payment Of Nine Months Salaries, Says FG

A file photo of the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige

 

The Federal Government says it is baseless for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to demand the payment of salaries for the entire nine months that the union has been on strike.

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said this in a statement on Tuesday while reacting to claims by ASUU President Biodun Ogunyemi that the Federal Government has agreed to pay the lecturers all salaries before they return to the classroom.

“Hence, it is baseless for ASUU to claim it cannot go back to school on empty stomach while government has on compassionate grounds, paid five months salaries out of the nine months they have been on strike,” the statement from Ngige’s media office explained.

The statement further noted that “With the lockdown at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister got a special presidential approval to demonstrate good faith to ASUU members that government is not on a vengeful mission or out to starve ASUU to death as some of them are claiming.

“They were subsequently paid for two months of February and March after which it was extended to April, May and June, months they were on strike on compassionate ground, bringing it to five months. This was done because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its deleterious effects on incomes of all workers and their families as government reasoned that ASUU members also have families.”

It also dismissed claims by the varsity lecturers that the Federal Government has not been faithful to agreements reached with the union.

“ I, therefore, state without equivocation that every offer with timeline has been faithfully fulfilled as promised by the government,” the minister noted, adding that the union had agreed to end their strike on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020.

READ FULL STATEMENT 

WE HAVE KEPT OUR PROMISES TO ASUU -FG

The Federal Government has faulted claims by the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) Biodun Ogunyemi that it has failed to deliver on the timelines on offers made to the union and that University teachers cannot return to classes on “ empty stomach.”

Dismissing the claims by ASUU, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that while it is true that some of the offers made to ASUU have timelines, the same timelines have faithfully been complied with.

“For instance, the Federal Government promised to constitute a Negotiation Committee for the 2009 Agreement and has fulfilled it with the last week’s inauguration of the committee that has Prof. Muzali as chairman.

“The N40b Earned Academic Allowances/ Earned Allowances have also been processed just as the N30b revitalization Fund, bringing it to a total of N70b.

“Likewise, the Visitation Panels for the Universities have been approved by the President but the panel cannot perform its responsibilities until the shut universities are re-opened. The gazzeting is also being rounded off at the Office of Attorney General of the Federation while the Ministry of Education is ready to inaugurate the various visitation panels.

“Similarly, Government agreed to pay salaries, allowances of Earned Academic Allowances/ Earned Allowances with a hybrid platform that is not hundred per cent IPPIS as requested by ASUU while UTAS is undergoing usability and integrity test at National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as demanded by ASUU

“ I, therefore, state without equivocation that every offer with timeline has been faithfully fulfilled as promised by government.”

The Minister noted that it is false and discomforting for ASUU to wrongly inform the general public that the Federal Government agreed to pay all withheld salaries before it will resume work.

“The truth of the matter is that a ‘Gentleman Agreement’ was reached at the last meeting in which ASUU agreed to call off the strike before December 9, 2020, and the Minister, in turn, agreed that once the strike is called off, he would get a presidential waiver for ASSU to be paid the remainder of their salaries on or before December 9, 2020.

Part of the proposal ASUU took back on November 27, 2020, reads, “ the Hon Minister of Labour and Employment informed that he had consulted with the Hon Minister of Education on getting a waiver on the issue of No Work, No Pay as stipulated in Sec. 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria( LFN )2004, but a reservation has been made concerning this request because of the ongoing strike by ASUU. The HML&E, therefore, agreed to work on this to be actualized before Wednesday, December 9, 2020.”

“ For the avoidance of doubt and for clarity, it should be stated that ASUU began warning strike on March 9, 2020, and went into full-blown industrial action on the 23rdof the same month over IPPIS payment platform.

“ With the lockdown at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister got a special presidential approval to demonstrate good faith to ASUU members that government is not on a vengeful mission or out to starve ASUU to death as some of them are claiming. They were subsequently paid for two months of February and March after which it was extended to April, May and June, months they were on strike on compassionate ground, bringing it to five months. This was done because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its deleterious effects on incomes of all workers and their families as government reasoned that ASUU members also have families.

“The Minister later invited ASUU to a virtual conciliatory meeting which they turned down. He further requested them to show good faith over the five months salaries government made to them by returning to the classroom and start virtual and online teaching as being done by private universities, while government sorts out the rest of their requests, they also refused.

“ It is therefore unbelievable that ASUU President claimed that government agreed to pay outright, the entire money of the period of the strike to them, even for staying at home and refusing to do either virtual teaching or research.

“ I wish to emphasize further that the outstanding salaries to ASUU is for the month of July, August, September and October as no federal public servant has been paid for November 2020. Hence, it is baseless for ASUU to claim it cannot go back to school on empty stomach while government has on compassionate grounds, paid five months salaries out of the nine months they have been on strike.

“ ASUU is fully aware of the principle of No Work, No Pay of the Sec. 43 of the Trade Disputes Act under which many unions like National Association of Residents Doctors( NARD) in 2017 and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) in 2018 among others have lost salaries as a result of the strike.

“ It is consequently important to inform Nigerians, especially parents that Federal Government is asking ASUU to go back to work and when they do, the Ministers of Labour, Finance and Education will put up a memo to deal with the outstanding four months of salaries. Asking the government to pay these four months before it goes back to work, means ASUU is placing itself above the law of the land and no government will encourage, it as it is a recipe for chaos in the labour milieu .”

“ Finally, the Federal Government will continue to engage ASUU in the spirit of social dialogue which the Ministry of Labour and Employment has been encouraging based on the ILO Principle on decent work.”

SEN. CHRIS NGIGE MEDIA OFFICE
08/12/2020

 

 

Nigerian Law Students Sue ASUU Over Lingering Strike

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendment
A file photo of ASUU logo.

 

The Law Student Association of Nigeria has filed a suit against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) challenging the prolonged strike which has paralysed the nation’s educational system for almost eight months.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1551/2012 and filed on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the students sought an order compelling ASUU to return to work.

The suit which was filed on behalf of the students by the President of the association, Blessing Agbomhere, also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining ASUU from further industrial action.

They asked the court to compel ASUU to pay N10 billion as compensation to Nigerian students for infringing on their rights to education, as guaranteed by Section 18 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

READ ALSO: FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

The students urged the court to order ASUU to pay damages to all Nigerian students for the psychological and emotional torture meted out to them, as well as the loss of valuable time as a result of the continuous strike.

Those listed as defendants in the suit include ASUU; ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi; and the Minister of Education.

Others are the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

FG Offers N65bn To ASUU For Earned Allowances, Revitalisation Fund

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presides over a meeting between government and ASUU representatives in Abuja on November 20, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the proposal on behalf of the government to the striking lecturers when they met on Friday in Abuja.

Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, he described the negotiation as fruitful as the government has decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues that have kept students out of the classroom for several months.

Ngige noted that in its bid to resolve the impasse with ASUU, the sum of N15 billion from the amount offered by the government would be for more funds to revitalise the universities.

He explained that the fund was in addition to the N20 billion paid earlier, making it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Law Students Sue ASUU Over Lingering Strike

The minister gave an update on the visitation panel to the universities, noting that the panel would be inaugurated next week.

He also spoke about the payment system, as the union had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the government.

Ngige noted that representatives of the government and ASUU met over the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) proposed by the union, but it was still work in progress.

He stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as the Ministry of Education, would use the previous payment platform of the government before it introduced IPPIS to pay the withheld salaries of the lecturers under strict monitoring.

The ASUU president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who also addressed reporters, acknowledged that the government has made some new offers to the union and progress has been made.

He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.

ASUU Strike: FG To Pay Additional N15bn Revitalisation Fund, Total Now N35bn

The federal government and ASUU met on November 20, 2020.
The Federal Government and ASUU met in Abuja on November 20, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has agreed to pay an additional N15 billion as revitalisation fund demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Friday at a press briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He noted that the money to be paid would make it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government following the payment of N20 billion earlier.

Ngige briefed reporters at the end of a meeting with members of the union led by the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

He described the meeting as a fruitful one, noting that the government has decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Law Students Sue ASUU Over Lingering Strike

The minister revealed that the government and ASUU have also reached an agreement on how to pay the withheld salaries of the lecturers.

The minister gave an update on the visitation panel to the universities, noting that the panel would be inaugurated next week.

He also spoke about the payment system, as the union had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the government.

Ngige noted that representatives of the government and ASUU met over the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) proposed by the union, but it was still work in progress.

He stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as the Ministry of Education, would use the previous payment platform of the government before it introduced IPPIS to pay the withheld salaries of the lecturers under strict monitoring.

The ASUU president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who also addressed reporters, acknowledged that the government has made some new offers to the union and progress has been made.

He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.

FG, ASUU Meeting Ends In Another Stalemate

 

The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU)  has once more failed to reach a decisive conclusion.

The closed-door meeting which was held on Wednesday at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja lasted for five hours with  newsmen being excused after opening remarks were made

ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led the delegation of striking lecturers to the meeting which had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in attendance.

In his opening remarks, the Minister said the Federal Government sees the meeting as a top priority and efforts were being made to ensure that Universities reopen as soon as possible.

The ASUU delegation, however, insisted that lecturers will not register on the Government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), but would prefer the platform of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution when it is established.

While details of the meeting appear vague there appears to be no conclusive agreement as both parties refused to speak to the press

Earlier in the month, Dr Chris Ngige, said that Government had pledged to pay the sum of N40 billion with N30 billion to be paid on or before 6th November, while the remaining N10 billion would bespread equally over two tranches to be paid on May 2021 and February 2022.

 

COVID-19: There Is No Basis For Reopening Schools – ASUU President

 

 

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Abiodun Ogunyemi, has faulted the move to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reopening of schools nationwide.

But Prof Ogunyemi is not in support of the move, saying the Federal Government has not put in place safety measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

READ ALSO: Oyo Discharges 180 COVID-19 Patients, Records 66 New Cases

According to him, every strata of government has to be carried along in the move to reopen the learning centres.

“The ministry (Federal), state ministries, have responsibilities; state education boards have responsibilities, local education boards have responsibilities; the thing has to trickle down,” he said on Wednesday during Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“You don’t put something on nothing, and that is what we have been saying.

“The basis for reopening schools is not there yet. The government must go back to the drawing board. They have to put what they have to put in place before they open our schools.”

The ASUU leader claimed that “nobody is talking about tertiary institutions,” but admitted that “one way or the other, we will come to talk about it.”

He also lamented that classes at all levels in public schools are congested and wondered how social distancing will be observed.

“We are saying they need to go back to the drawing board,” he restated.

 

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU

 

Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday suspended its nationwide strike after three months.

ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, announced this at a press conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The union suspended the industrial action following its latest meeting with representatives of the Federal Government led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nigige.

READ ALSO: ASUU Suspends Nationwide Strike After Three Months

Read the full statement issued by the ASUU President below;

ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), NATIONAL SECRETARIAT. TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA

Protocol

Friends and compatriots of the Press, On Sunday, 4th November, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.

The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017.

While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action”.

Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.

Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses.

This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.

Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.

Why Strike Action? The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the universities?

However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria.

ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health, transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living.

This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.

ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union.

At our media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd  December, 2018, we highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:

– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA  of 2017

– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of the nation and the people at heart.

Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances (EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of same into the 2018 budget.

– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA)

– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of university education and undue interference in the affairs of the universities

Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO

– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of

2019.

Highlights of the MoA include the following:

  1. In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
  2. Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36 months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
  3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
  4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
  5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.
  6. Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of operational license to NUPEMCO.
  7. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively by 11th March, 2019.
  8. Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by Friday 29th March 2019.

Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive consultations through its various organs. The final level of consultation was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) which took place 6th-7th February 2019.

NEC resolved that: Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and 2017 MoA, NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th February 2019.

However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.

Conclusion

ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice-chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities.

Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalisation of public universities in Nigeria.

ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and the progressive development of our universities.

Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.

Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike period.

We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle.

We also acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities from imminent collapse.

While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work.

We shall never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university system.

For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!

Thank you for listening.

Biodun Ogunyemi

President

7th February 2018

FG Continues Negotiation With Lecturers Over ASUU Strike

FG Continues Negotiation With Lecturers Over ASUU Strike
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja in December 2018.

 

The Federal Government has continued its negotiation with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the ongoing industrial action by the union.

The meeting held on Thursday at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja.

ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led other striking lecturers to the meeting which has the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in attendance.

READ ALSOCourt Orders Arrest Of Ex-NIA DG, Wife

Other government representatives at the meeting are the permanent secretaries at the ministries of Education, as well as Labour and Employment, and some directors from the ministries.

In his welcome remarks, Senator Ngige said he was hoping that the meeting would be the final negotiation that would resolve the lingering industrial crisis.

On his part, the ASUU President was hopeful that the discussion would not take long like the previous ones held.

Both parties are meeting after a series of negotiation following the nationwide industrial action by the lecturers since November 2018.

The minister and the ASUU President had told reporters at the end of the meeting held on Friday last week that progress was being made to address the issues raised by the striking lecturers.

Although they did not give any specific detail, they promised to address a press conference at the end of today’s meeting.

Saraki Asks Buhari To End ASUU Strike Without Delay

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Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has urged the Federal Government to resolve the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU).

Saraki made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU), because this issue goes beyond negotiations.  It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections,” he stated.

Saraki warned that the undergraduates might be denied the opportunity to vote in the general elections if the demands of the lecturers are not met.

READ ALSO: Saraki Accuses Buhari’s Government Of Increasing Unemployment

While noting that the youths make up over 51 per cent of the voting population, the Senate President noted that a situation whereby the strike prevents them from participating in the polls where they registered isn’t acceptable.

“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.

“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue,” Saraki said.

Strike: Hope For Varsity Students As FG, ASUU Reach Agreement

Strike: Hope For Varsity Students As FG, ASUU Reach Agreement
(File) Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, meets with ASUU leaders in Abuja on December 10, 2018.

 

The Federal Government has finally reached an agreement with leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this to reporters on Monday in Abuja shortly after a meeting with the striking lecturers.

This signals hope of resumption for students of various universities under ASUU following a strike which has been ongoing for over two months.

However, the union has yet to make a decision whether or not it is calling off the strike for academic activities to resume in the schools.

Senator Ngige told reporters after the meeting that the government has met a majority of the demands by ASUU, including the release of N15.4 billion for payment of salary shortfalls.

According to him, the government is also in the process of releasing another N20 billion naira for payment of earned allowances for university lecturers.

The National President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, also confirmed to reporters that an agreement was reached with the government at the meeting.

But he noted that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of ASUU would review their decisions based on the new commitment by the government.

Professor Ogunyemi insisted that it was only after the meeting of the union’s leadership that ASUU would announce its position on the ongoing industrial action.

After a series of meetings ended inconclusively, Professor Ogunyemi had reportedly led leaders of the union out of a discussion with the government in December 2018.

Senator Ngige swiftly denied this and faulted the reports that the striking lecturers walked out of the meeting.

He had, however, insisted that the government was concerned about the issues raised by the union and was committed to resolving them.

The minister had also assured the union that attention would be paid to three critical demands which included salary shortfalls, university revitalisation, and earned allowances of union members.