Punch reports that there were indications late on Thursday that the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities had agreed on some demands of the union in the efforts to resolve the strike by the lecturers. The meeting, which began around 1.30pm, ended around 11pm as both parties were initially adamant to shift grounds on some contentious issues. Our correspondent learnt as of press time that a memorandum had been signed by both ASUU and the government.
In attendance on the government’s side were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu; and the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka. The ASUU nine-man delegation was led by the union President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.
Earlier, the education minister, Adamu, identified the contentious issues as earned academic allowances and the revitalisation of public universities.
“Most of the issues between the government and the union have already been dealt with. The two most important and contentious issues are the earned allowances and the revitalisation of university system. We have already reached an agreement on one and we hope to reach an agreement on the other,” the minister added.
Also, labour minister, Ngige, said the meeting would “break down the areas of mistrust” between the government and the union. He said:
“We last met on August 17 and we agreed you would get back to your members and you would give us your proposal. Between then and now, a lot of things have happened and some contacts and meetings were held between you and the Minister of Education.
“Some appreciable and tangible results were achieved. We are convening this meeting with this in mind; to smooth the rough edges and enable you to call off this strike, which will be one month in a matter of days. This will not augur well for the academic calendar of universities. We want to address and break down the areas of mistrust between us.”
The ASUU President, Ogunyemi, said:
“Once we are able to resolve the contentious issues, we are willing to go back to our members in earnest and take the final decision on this action.”
As of the time of fling this report, the communique between the two parties had yet to be released to journalists.