The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has said that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to address the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike and meet its demand.
The meeting which held at the Federal Ministry of Labour on Monday night ended with no resolution met on the ongoing strike and was adjourned to December 17.
At least four other meetings have been held between both parties before Monday’s since the strike commenced on November 4.
According to Ngige; ”Considering the implementation of a memorandum of action which we agreed to in 2017. Some of the areas have been well complied with but some have not been dealt with,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of shortfall in salaries of some federal universities’ lecturers, Mr Ngige said ASUU had given a list to the accountant general’s office.
”We agreed that by Wednesday, that list will be cross-checked with the Presidential Initiative of Continuous Auditing to find out really whether those universities are places where they have to visit and pay the outstanding lecturers there. So, the office reports back to us on Wednesday,” he said.
The minister also identified low government revenue as a reason for non-provision of funds for the revitalisation of universities.
”We have identified one area to look for the fund for revitalization and the appropriate government organs will be contacted tomorrow,” he said.
Speaking on earned allowances, Mr Ngige said the government has agreed on what to do to make sure the outstanding amount is handled in a way that all parties will be properly accommodated.
”We also discussed the issue of state universities and agreed that even though education is on concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed so that we don’t produce half-baked graduates,” he said.
He said the ministry of education will set up a committee that will engage the Nigerian Governors Forum on funding state universities.
“These are the issues we discussed and we hope in the next adjourned date, we would make progress and bring the strike to close. ASUU has been cooperative,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ASUU chairman, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the union will await the next adjournment date to see how far the federal government will deliver on its promises before it will take a decision on whether to suspend the industrial action.
”We have promises made on the part of the government and we shall await report on all the issues for which they have made promises”, he said.
Mr Ngige had earlier at the meeting appealed to the striking lecturers to ensure that Monday’s dialogue yields results that will lead to ending the strike.
”The strike is five weeks old today and it is not in anybody’s interest. We will ensure the needful is done,” he said.
The union embarked on the strike on November 4 over the poor funding of Nigerian universities and non-implementation of previous agreements by the government.
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