The Federal Government of Nigeria is presently holding another reconciliation meeting with the executives of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Abuja, in a bid to resolve issues involved in the ongoing strike action.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who made this known, said the meeting – which was earlier scheduled for 11:00 am today (Thursday) – has just started.
It is understood that the time was adjusted to allow some key players expected at the meeting a little break, following a similar meeting with the National Association of Resident Doctors, which ended this morning.
The minister further noted several meetings had been held by the government side to resolve what he called the two contentious issues ahead of today’s meeting with ASUU.
“We are here to smoothen the rough edges so we could move forward ,” Mr. Ngige said.
The two contentious issues the minister referred to are earned allowances for the lecturers and revitalisation fund of universities.
In his response, the ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi, expressed optimism that the industrial action would be called off as soon as the government shows its commitment to addressing the concerns raised.
He said once the contentious issues are resolved, the union’s leadership team will reconvene its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting for further discussions.
On his part, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, expressed optimism that the two parties will reach a compromise on the issues so that universities can reopen.
ASUU, an umbrella body of all university lecturers in the country, is currently on strike over the federal government’s failure to fulfil its 2009/2013 agreement with the union.
The union embarked on the strike on August 13 over issues of poor funding, welfare of its members and the failure of the federal government to honour aspects of past agreements it had with its members.