President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to make further consultations on the demands by the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
The President made the promise after meeting with the Chairman and select members of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Recall that ASUU proceeded on one-month warning strike on 14th February over the alleged inability of the Federal Government to meet up with their demands and has been extending the strike up till date.
Some of the demands include the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, payment of Earned Academic Allowance, the
inconsistencies occasioned by IPPIS and demand for replacement of the payment platform with the University Transparency Accountability Solution, UTAS, among others.
Although the government had claimed it has made offers to ASUU, the union also claimed there has not been any meaningful offer from the governnent, hence, it has remained adamant in calling off the seven month old strike.
But at the meeting with the Chairman and select members of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities, President Buhari promised to engage in further consultations with relevant stakeholders, towards ending the protracted strike by university lecturers..
The President said without necessarily going back on what is already established policy, “I will make further consultations, and I’ll get back to you.”
The Pro-Chancellors were led to the meeting by Professor Nimi Briggs, who said they had come to meet with the President in three capacities: “As President and Commander-in-Chief, as father of the nation, and as Visitor to the Federal universities.”
He added that despite the pall cast by more than seven months of industrial action, “the future of university system in the country is good,” citing as example the recent listing of the University of Ibadan among the first 1,000 universities in the world, a development occurring for the first time.
Prof Briggs commended Federal Government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5 percent across board, and 35 percent for Professors.
He, however, asked for “further inching up of the salary, in view of the economic situation of the country.”
The Pro-Chancellors also asked for a reconsideration of the No-Work, No-Pay stance of government, promising that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation was reached, and schools reopened.
Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said all the concessions made by Federal Government were to ensure that the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant.
Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that the Pro-Chancellors had pleaded with the President to make additional percent to the proposed 23.5 percent salary increase for lecturers making it 28.5 percent.
On the ‘no work no pay policy’ invoked by the government, there was a plea that the President should find a soft landing for the lecturers as they resume work, but it was not clear on what should be the sub-head of the fund as government has maintained its position that the lecturers don’t merit the payment because they didn’t work during the period public universities were shutdown.