The Federal Government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities have reached a partial agreement, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, announced on Monday.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Ngige made the announcement at a reconciliation meeting in Abuja aimed at finding ways of resolving the strike which commenced on November 5. The meeting ended late on Monday.
He said, “We have finished our deliberation for today (Monday). I am happy to report that we touched some areas of understanding in implementation from the Memorandum of Action which we agreed to in 2017.
“Some of these areas we have substantial compliance and some other areas have not been fully dealt with.
“Like the issue of shortfall in salaries of some federal universities’ workers and lecturers, ASUU has given a list to the Accountant-General’s Office and we have agreed that by Wednesday that list should be cross-checked by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing.
“So, the Accountant-General’s Office is to get back to us by Wednesday.”
He noted that the meeting had identified one area to look for the funds for the revitalisation of the universities, adding that the appropriate government organ would be contacted on the issue.
Ngige said government was sure to have good news for the striking lecturers.
“We also discussed the issue of state universities and agreed also that even if education is on the concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed so that we do not produce half-baked students from those universities.
“In realisation of this, the Ministry of Education will set up a committee that would engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the Minister of Education has taken steps in that direction to formalise the interaction.”
The minister said he hoped with the agreement reached that the union would call off the strike at the next meeting scheduled for December 17.
On his part, ASUU National President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, said, “Our own understanding is that we heard promises made on the part of government; we shall await the report on all the issues and after that we can get back to our members to take a decision”.