A meeting of the Federal Government with the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has ended in deadlock, suggesting that the ongoing strike action by the union is likely to continue.
The meeting called by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, was another attempt to get the academic staff union to call off the strike.
The meeting which was co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Christian Association of Nigeria’s president, Dr. Supo Ayokunle, could not persuade the ASUU leaders to return to the classrooms while negotiations were ongoing to meet their demands.
It was learnt that the Federal Government and NIREC attempted to persuade the union to return to the classrooms during the closed-door technical session, promising that their demands would be met, but the ASUU leadership reportedly said the government had to meet part of their demands which they could use in convincing their members to call off the ongoing strike.
The meeting, which was held at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was attended by other registered trade unions in universities, as well as identified interest groups and civil society groups.
However, Ngige who gave an update on the meeting, said that the Federal Government had reached an agreement with the union, adding that certain timelines had been set and that specific parts of the agreements would be implemented from next week.
According to the minister, the issues of wage review and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement would be addressed soon.
We have reached some agreements and we hope that by next week, those agreements will be maturing and the different unions will have something to tell their members, so that they can call off the strike.
We have put some timelines for some aspects like renegotiation of 2009 agreement in terms of condition of service and wage review. So, we are hopeful that by next weekend, the unions will see a conclusion of that area.