For the ninth time in about three months, Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Friday, failed to reach a compromise on ending the three months old strike by university lecturers.
The lecturers, demanding implementation of the agreement entered into by the government with the union, have been on strike since November 2019.
The union is insisting on government releasing the sum of N50 billion as part of the first tranche of the revitalization fund. Government on its part, said it does not have the resources and cannot afford to release N50 billion, adding that it had offered N20 billion which the union rejected. Inability of government to release the fund is the major reason the strike has not been suspended.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, said: “The meeting was protracted, but the good news is that we have gotten to the end of the tunnel.”
Responding to questions on the amount the government plans to release as revitalization fund, Ngige said: “We met them half way. We have finished the grey areas and on the issue of N50 billion , we have offered what we have. We do not have N50 billion and we can not do N50 billion but we have offered them something reasonable. So they have taken it back to go and present to their members.”
The minister, however, expressed hope that students would return to school soon, saying “we will know when they will go back by Thursday.”
Also speaking, ASUU President, Mr Biodun Ogunyemi, said: “We have adjourned till Thursday.”
Asked the level of progress made so far, he said “I can not tell you that now until I tell my members. It is the feedback we came for today, but we have a piece of information for our members, and until we tell our members, we can not tell you.”
ASUU president was also not forthcoming on the N50 billion revitalisation fund demanded by the union. “Until we meet our members, we can not give any information. But we are making progress and the progress we are making is for everybody’s interest, and stakeholders will benefit at the end of the day. We will be meeting on Thursday, after which, we will address the press,” he said.
Ogunyemi also assured that all grey areas had been trashed, saying: “We have trashed all areas, so the progress we have made must first be related to our members. Until we tell them and they tell us what to do, that is only when we can relate to the press. The meeting is adjourned till Thursday.”