The latest negotiation meeting between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has ignited fresh hopes of resolving the crisis which led to the ongoing ASUU strike.
After the meeting which was held yesterday, the Federal Government says it has released a sum of N163 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
This was disclosed by the head of the FG negotiating team Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment while he was addressing newsmen after the meeting in Abuja.
Below is an extract of Chris Ngige’s statement to newsmen;
“Today we have agreed to fund revitalisation. The government has released about N163 billion from TETFund account to universities.”
“So, we have gotten some substantial agreement in most of the areas of the agreement.”
“Most of the issues have been resolved, so they are going to go back to their members and present government’s offer to their council.‘’
“These are debts of 2009, owed by the past administration, that is 2009 to 2012, so it is not our own debt and we have been doing a lot to settle these debts.”
“So, we will be reconvening at the instance of ASUU, they said they want to go and consult with their members and they cannot call off the strike without consulting with their members.“
The senator also disclosed that the union were not asking for N50 billion before they would call off the strike.
He, however, revealed that if the total amount of the union’s demand was added, it would be more than the N50 billion as the government was paying in different compartments.
The President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi also spoke with newsmen and disclosed that there were still some grey areas in the proposal by the Federal Government.
He said the union would look at the grey areas and would get back to the government.
Below is an extract of Professor Ogunyemi’s statement;
“The most critical area is the revitalisation, because it is central to our work, as academics and unless that area is addressed our members will have issues with ongoing action.
“We also did not ask for N50 billion, we are saying that the minimum we expect the government to release in order to reactive the revitalisation fund is N50 billion.
“So, the strike is still on.’’