The Federal Government promised on Wednesday that the conflict with the university-based unions would soon be settled and that academic activities would pick back up in full.
Additionally, the Federal Government refuted the claim that it intended to change the payment schedule for the Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU.
This is because the government has called a meeting of all concerned agencies, including the National Information Development Agency, NITDA, to update it on the progress made so far in resolving the controversial issues that sparked the four university-based unions’ ongoing strike.
Recall that the ASUU shut down the public universities on February 14 and that the government was unable to address the concerns of the other three university-based unions, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, who also joined the strike.
At the conclusion of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari and held in the Council Chamber of the presidential villa in Abuja, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, responded to questions from State House reporters by saying that the government was eager to see the students return to the classroom.
The Minister said that the meeting on Thursday is expected to look at the progress report by the relevant bodies handling the crisis including NITDA on how far it has gone with the integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS which was proposed as an alternative platform by ASUU and the University Perculiar Personnel and Payroll System, U3PS, proposed by SSANU and NASU.
Ngige said he was waiting for the report of the Tripartite Plus Committee comprising the Ministry of Education, the Chief of Staff, Salaries and Wages Income Commission, the National University Commission, NUC as well as the striking unions.
On the allegation that the federal government was planning to create a separate salary payment structure for the ASUU, the Minister said there was no veracity in such allegation.