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Strike: Suswam briefs Jonathan on ASUU/FG

By The Citizen
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The Chairman of the Presidential Universities' NEEDS Assessment Committee, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, yesterday briefed President Goodluck Jonathan on negotiations between the federal government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resolve the ongoing strike.

The negotiations between the FG and ASUU again ended in deadlock Monday as both parties differed on crucial issues bordering on funding.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting, Suswam said the team were making substantial progress that will see the strike being called off soon.

Suswam  said progress was made in the area of addressing the infrastructural deficit in the  universities with the release of N100 billion, which would be distributed by next month while it has also  made an offer of N30 billion to assist the various universities Councils to enable them pay the earned allowances of the striking lecturers.

According to him, “I can say that we have made substantial progress and we are hoping that this strike should be called off based on some of the mechanisms that we have put in place to move the sector forward. We met extensively yesterday (Monday). You know there are two components, to the whole issue, the needs assessment component, which is the one that I’m handling, we have to some large extent concluded on that.

“The the earned allowance committee, which is being headed by the SGF, that is where there are some contentions, but as you must have heard, the federal government  made an offer of N30 billion to assist the various Councils of our universities to be able to pay the earned allowances. There is also N100 billion that is why myself, the Minister of Finance, the SGF,the ministers of education, labour, the Chief of Staff and the VP have just risen from a meeting to take some decisions that would end the strike and  the President has instructed us as to what to do and he has shown a lot of commitments and flagging off a project worth about N100 billion in all the universities in the country about 61 of them.

“So we are hoping that we will be able to see the end of the strike very soon if at the end of the day ASUU  is satisfied with the measures that have so far been taken. The federal government will also be meeting with the university councils and vice chancellors of our universities within the week towards updating them on some of the decisions taken.