ABUJA – Barring any last minutes change, academic activities may resume in public universities next week, as Federal Government has approved over N35.4 billion for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In a resolution reached Monday night between the Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja, the government announced that Federal Ministry of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation have confirmed payment of N15.389.940,335.71 billion to accommodate payment of shortfall in all institutions that are Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit, PICA varied.
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review its decisions based on the new commitment by the federal government.
He said the strike could only be called off or not after the NEC meeting. He did not say when the meeting will hold.
The lecturers have been on strike since November 4 to demand improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.
After a meeting Monday, the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, said an agreement had been reached.
According to him, the accountant general and the ministry of finance have confirmed with evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to cover funding in public universities.
On earned allowances, Mr Ngige said President Buhari has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 to 2012 audit verified earnings in the universities.
He said the earned allowances will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.
Naija247news recalled that the Federal Government said last week it will continue negotiation process with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday to resolve ongoing industrial action embarked by the striking lecturers.
Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this in a statement signed on Saturday in Abuja by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Director of Press, in the ministry.
According to the statement, the meeting is in furtherance to efforts at resolving the on-going industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“The Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Chris Ngige is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Executive of ASUU.
“The conciliatory meeting is scheduled to hold on Jan. 7, at Minister’s Conference Room by 30:30 pm prompt.
ASUU commenced an indefinite strike on Nov. 5, 2018 over certain demands based on agreement reached with government in 2009.
One of the demands is the replacement of Dr Wale Babalakin as the chairman for the government renegotiating team of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement.
Other issues are non-payment of earned allowance, funding of revitalisation of the Nigerian universities, implementation of needs assessment report, poor funding of state universities, among others.
As part of efforts by the Federal Government to end the strike, it commenced meetings with ASUU leadership on Nov. 15, 2018 followed by the last one on Dec. 17, 2018 before Christmas break.