Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has promised to hold additional consultations with relevant stakeholders in order to end the long-running strike by university lecturers organised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He made the promise on Friday at the State House in Abuja, the nation’s capital, after meeting with the Chairman and select members of the Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities.
“I will make further consultations, and I will get back to you,” the President said, without necessarily reversing existing policy.
Professor Nimi Briggs led the Pro-Chancellors to the meeting, explaining that 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 an 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% across board, and 35% 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 the government, promising that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation was reached, and schools reopened.
The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said all the concessions made by Nigerian Government were to ensure that the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant.