Regina Otokpa, Abuja
After eight months of industrial action and on and off negotiations with the Federal Government, there are indications that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), may resume academic activities in the next few days.
After another round of lengthy negotiations spanning over 10 hours on Friday, ASUU finally reached a consensus with government at a meeting led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja.
According to a source, who craved anonymity, the understanding reached by both parties was due to the pledge by government to pay N40 billion as the Earned Allowance and N30bn for the revitalization of the university system, which brings the total payment promised the Union to N70 billion, with an agreement arrears of salaries would be settled before December 31.
Although ASUU had only informed newsmen there was a new proposal which they must first report to its members, the source noted that ASUU had insisted the agreement must not be announced until approved by its members, after a which the strike would likely be called off.
Ngige, who spoke to newsmen after the meeting, maintained that the deliberations were fruitful as a new proposal had been made to ASUU to take back to members and take a decision afterwards.
In his words: “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”
On his part, ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi only acknowledged all what Ngige had said, but declined further comment.