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The Federal Government has reportedly reached an agreement with the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in a meeting between both parties in Abuja on Monday, January 7, 2019.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi said union’s National Executive Committee (NEC)will review its decision based on the Federal Government commitment.

ASUU And FG meeting

According to Premium Times, Ogunyemi said the strike could only be called off after the NEC meeting. He however, did not state when the meeting will hold.

“We have had an extensive session, looking at all the issues.

”In view of this, the government has promised to reach us as soon as possible with a written proposal on those areas we need further consultations. And when we receive that, we shall treat accordingly and get back to the appropriate quarters,” Ogunyemi said.

Also speaking after the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said the government has reached an agreement with the striking lecturers.

He added that the accountant general and the ministry of finance have confirmed with evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to public universities.

According to Premium Times, Ngige also said President Buhari has approved N20 billion to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 to 2012 verified earnings in the universities, adding that earned allowances will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.

The labour Minister also said the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had an agreement to fund Nigerian Universities with N220 billion annually for six years starting from 2009.

He, however, said that the government would look for resources to meet the commitment adding that ASUU had been offered some token to show good faith.

Public Universities have been shut down since Sunday, November 4, 2018 as ASUU insists strike won’t be suspended if government fails to meet its demands.

The FG yesterday opened negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Abuja over the universities lecturers’ strike since November 5.

The meeting, started at 3pm and lasted till 9pm, was adjourned till next week, as the striking teachers and government did not reach a consensus

It was learnt that the closed-door meeting looked at the seven points in the Memorandum of Action signed in September 2017, and the two parties reviewed the highlights of the agreement.

The ASUU delegation was led by its National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while the government side had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono; and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

Ngige said, “The government appeals to ASUU to put the interest of the students first because they are at the receiving end of the consideration.”

In a copy of the 2017 Memorandum of Action, which was reviewed by the two parties, the issues of discussion included “funding for revitalisation of universities; earned academic allowances; staff schools; pension matters; salary shortfalls, Treasury Single Account exemption; and state universities.”

Ogunyemi, after the six-hour meeting, said the union had put forward its demands and the meeting had been adjourned till next week.

He said, “No date has been fixed for next week but we will communicate the date to you tomorrow (Friday). The union was forced to go on strike because our plea for the implementation of the 2017 Memorandum of Action fell on deaf ears.

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The Federal Government has appealed to the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to exercise restraint in their demands from the government.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the Federal Government would have fulfilled its obligations to ASUU if international oil prices had not crashed after 2009.

“The issues necessitating this strike date back to 2009 when the then government of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua signed an agreement with ASUU on the funding of federal universities. The agreement provided for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3tn over a period of six years. It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing oil boom at that time. It was therefore expected that government would meet the terms of agreement.

“However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years, thereby throwing the country into an economic hardship. At the inception of this administration, the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose-diving into a recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education.

“We exited recession not too long ago, and we are just beginning to recover from the consequences of low oil prices, which are happily beginning to pick up. If this trend continues, definitely, the education sector will also improve.

“Against this background, I want to appeal to all parents, students and in particular ASUU women and men to continue to exercise restraint in terms of their response to the plight of the education sector. We must also be mindful that there are other sectors with similar competing needs.”

Lecturers in some of the universities downed tools on Monday accusing the government of failing to implement at least three areas in their Memorandum of Action signed on September 14, 2017.

According to President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the grey areas included failure to carry out the Forensic Audit of the earned academic allowances of the lecturers since 2017 and the payment of only N20bn out of an agreed N220bn annually.