Govt, Striking Lecturers Fail to Reach Deal

The Monday meeting between striking university lecturers and the federal government ended without a resolution of the crisis.

The meeting, which held at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was attended by the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Labour, Emeka Nwogwu; Minister of Education, Rukayyatu Rufai; and the Benue State Governor and head of the government’s delegation, Gabriel Suswam.

The lecturers’ union, ASUU, was led by the President of the union, Nasir Fagge.

At the end of the meeting, which lasted for over four hours (from 3:p.m. to about7:15p.m), Mr. Suswam said the government was already taking actions to address deficiencies in Nigerian universities.

“The Federal Government has been able to harness about N100 billion, which Mr. President has agreed,” he said, saying the government would build new facilities including hostels in all public universities.

Mr. Suswam added that “the infrastructure deficit will be addressed like hostels, labs and libraries. Some will be renovated while others will be brand new. Every university will be affected and each of the hostels will accommodate 1,200 students.”

Mr. Anyim was the first to give an indication that the federal government’s stance did not meet all the demands of the lecturers. He all issues have been resolved except the unpaid allowances.

He said the Federal Government could not meet the N92 billion required to meet all ASUU’s demand on allowances for lecturers, but had agreed to release N30 billion to be paid according to the verifiable claims by each University’s Governing Council.

While reacting to the government’s position at the meeting, Mr. Fagge said the government was yet to implement the 2009 agreement it had with the lecturers.

“The union is talking about the implementation of 2009 agreement and not renegotiation.

“If you remember the objective of going on strike is to get government to implement the 2009 ASUU and FG particularly to implement the provisions of the memorandum of understanding we reached with the government in 2012,” Mr. Fagge said.

He, however, said his union would report back to its National Executive Council to decide on an appropriate response to the Federal Government’s offer, but that ASUU’s position has not shifted from the 2009 agreement.

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