FG, ASUU meet, may call off strike next week

By The Rainbow

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has indicated that it may call off its indefinite strike next week.

The Academic Union hinted after several agreements were reached with the federal government during talks which resumed today.

The two parties were said to have agreed in all both two points at a closed-door meeting held at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Friday.

The meeting lasted three hours.
The high-powered government team, which included  the Education and Labour Ministers, was led by the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim while ASUU's team was led by its President, Dr Nasir Isa Fagge.

Briefing journalists afterwards, the Chairman, University Needs Implementation Committee, Gabriel Suswam,  said  that the committee would work assiduously to wipe out all issues that have led to strikes for several decades as well as enhance the internally generated revenue base of all public universities in the country

'We agreed on all major issues except the issues of funding of the Universities or rather intervention and then the allowance of the University Lecturers. We believe that by next week the other issues would be resolved. Then, ASUU would probably call off the strike, ' he said.

Suswam, who is the Benue State Governor,  said that the SGF is meeting on the issue of earn allowance on Monday while his committee, which is dealing with the Needs assessment implementation, would be meeting on Thursday to assess all the infrastructural deficits in the Universities.

He said,   'We are involving all the agencies that fund the universities – the CBN and all others. As soon as the two issues are resolved, we believe that the strike would be called off.

'The issues of retirement age, setting up a pension administrator, setting up of budget monitoring unit, persuading companies to set up research centres, among others, have being agreed on,' Suswam said.

'We agreed that all the funding agencies would meet on Thursday and we chart a way forward,' he noted.

Although the Chairman of ASUU refused to speak to the press in an obvious show of dissatisfaction, a source within ASUU said they did not expect the Federal Government to bring all the cards on the table at once so they are still keeping their fingers crossed for next week when their demands would be exhaustively tackled. 'For now, the strike continues indefinitely,' the source said.

Earlier, in a bid to put up appropriate conditions necessary for academics in all tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the Federal Government has inaugurated the Universities Needs Implementation Committee, with a mandate to prioritise requisite exigencies.

At the inauguration yesterday in Abuja, the SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim said the major needs of all Federal Universities where identified by an assessment committee earlier set up to assess and prioritise the needs of universities.'

He said the report submitted by the Needs assessment Committee mandates the inaugurated Committee to 'interface with all agencies providing funding support to the universities with the aim of appropriately channeling support to identified priorities.'

'Simulate private sector investment into the public universities, monitor progress of the projects implementation and produce quarterly report for submission to the federal government and, intervention in any other matter that may be necessary to achieve the purpose of the Needs Assessment,' he added.

This mandate stemmed from the observations earlier carried out, which noted that various countries fund tertiary institutions through varying approaches, some through budgetary allocations, non-budgetary interventions or private sector donations.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government set up the Need Assessment Committee to revitalise the physical infrastructure in the universities, with the aim of enhancing the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the universities.