The Federal Government on Tuesday said it has done all it can with regard to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU).
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu disclosed this to reporters at an ongoing meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Abuja.
As of the time of filing this report, the meeting has gone into a closed-door session.
The Minister is expected to brief reporters at the end of the meeting.
Adamu said: “In all, we have been doing, our guide has been the directive of Mr President Muhammadu Buhari, namely, that while the unions should be persuaded to return to work, Government should not repeat the past mistakes of accepting to sign an agreement it will be unable to implement. Government should not, in the guise of resolving current challenges, sow seeds for future disruptions.
“We have done the best that we can in the circumstance. After Inter-ministerial consultations and rounds of hard negotiations with all government agencies, we interacted with the Unions. I personally, gave it all it required to resolve the current challenges. I met the Unions anywhere and everywhere possible with facts, with figures, and with absolute sincerity. For example, I directly met with ASUU leadership in my house, in my office and at the ASUU Secretariat on several different occasions, in addition to other formal engagements going on.
“To be frank with all the unions, especially with ASUU, one major issue over which Government and the Unions could not reach amicable agreement was the issue of the law on “No work, No pay”. In the spirit of sincerity, the Government made it clear that it would not break the law. And on this, I must, openly and once again, thank all the Unions which made the sacrifice of understanding the position of Government on the matter.”
On February 14, ASUU declared a one-month warning strike that escalated into a full-blown strike.
The strike, which has kept public universities shut and academic activities grounded with students and Nigerians bewildered, is in its sixth month, with no end in sight.
The strike by the union entered its 204th day.
Some of the demands of the union included: funding for revitalisation of public universities; payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA)/Earned Allowances (EA); payment of salary shortfalls; stop the proliferation of state universities by governors; setting up of Visitation Panels.
Others are: renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for university lecturers and payment of withheld salaries and non-remittance of check – off dues.