The Federal Government of Nigeria has stated that talks; with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) HOLDS have so far been fruitful, expressing optimism that the ongoing strike ;will soon be called off.
The government’s optimism, according to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, is predicated; on the federal government’s consideration; of some of ASUU HOLDS strike in demands.
the demands include the submission of the union’s list of outstanding payments, and the identification of some areas in the universities; in need of revitalisation as; contained in the signed 2009 agreement.
The minister said talks with the union have so far been productive and fruitful,
Adding that the federal government was; optimistic that the strike would soon be called off to pave way for students to resume academic activities.
He said: “There are areas that are still outstanding which we are going to address on the 17th.
We have the issue of shortfall of salaries, that of some federal university workers.
ASUU holds meeting which has; given a list to the office of the Accountant General.
“We agreed that by Wednesday that the list will be checked to find out really whether those universities were actually paid and they have to be visited and paid the outstanding lecturers there.
So, the Accountant General’s office is to come back to us.
We have also the issue of Earned Academic Allowance and the issue of revitalisation.
These are issues of 2009 agreement. We will look into the consideration and we have identified one area of the fund for revitalisation.
“The federal government organs; will be contacted and we do expect ‘that we will have some words for ASUU’.
Same goes for the earned allowances. We will make sure that the issue of the outstanding amounts; is handled in a way “‘that all parties will be properly accommodated,” he said.
Ngige revealed that during the talks, the quality of graduates from state-owned universities was; brought to focus with a view to upgrading the standard ;of education in order to meet with global standards.
He said; state owned universities are not producing graduates; that can be employed as several are lacking in competitive skills.
He said the; federal government through the ministry of education will engage ;with the Nigeria Governors Forum and will chart a way forward.
“We also discussed; the issue of state universities and since education is on concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed, so that we; do not produce half baked graduates from those universities.
And towards realising that, the ministry of education; will engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The minister of education; is taking steps towards; that direction and will organise that interaction; is good when ;ASUU holds meeting;.
“Engaging them directly and giving professional advice; is what the ministry will do.
These are some of the issues we discussed and to me; the discussions were fruitful. We want the children to go back to school,” he added. (NAN)