Nigerian students may have cause to smile in the coming days as the Federal government has reached an agreement with striking university lecturers, raising the possibility of ending the teachers’ prolonged industrial action.
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review its decisions based on the new commitment by the federal government.
He said the strike could only be called off after the NEC meeting. He did not say when the meeting will hold.
“We have had an extensive session, looking at all the issues,” he said.
According to him, there are issues that will require further consultations before the union can suspend its strike.
”In view of this, government has promised to reach us as soon as possible with a written proposal on those areas we need further consultations. And when we receive that, we shall treat accordingly and get back to the appropriate quarters,” he said.
The lecturers have been on strike since November 4, 2018, to demand improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.
After the Monday meeting, the labour minister, Chris Ngige, said an agreement had been reached.
According to him, the accountant general and the ministry of finance have confirmed with evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to public universities.
On earned allowances, Mr Ngige said President Buhari has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 to 2012 verified earnings in the universities
He said the earned allowances will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.
“ASUU has fulfilled their side in time for the pension administrator to take care of pension of their staff. They earlier gave ASUU a temporary licence and ASUU has done the needful to get their licence. So, it is resolved,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of state universities, Mr Ngige said an eight-member committee has been put in place to meet with governors.
He said the Goodluck Jonathan administration entered an agreement of N220 billion annual university funding with ASUU for the next 6 years, starting from 2009.
He said the federal government will look for resources to meet the commitment and ASUU has been offered some token to show good faith.
Mr Ngige said the union should take the resolution of the meeting back to its members and get back to the government on Thursday.
”These are the major issues we discussed and ASUU is supposed to take back the resolution of these meetings to their members. We expect that they will get back to us by Thursday,” he said.