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FG, ASUU meet in Abuja


From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Representatives of the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) met in Abuja, on Monday, in continuation of discussions on the way to end the five-month-old strike.

Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Abubakar Rasheed, confirmed the meeting during the opening ceremony of a retreat for Vice-chancellors of Nigerian Universities and Directors of Inter-university centres in Abuja, on Monday.

He said in his remarks that he “and some Vice-chancellors will go for a meeting later today in an effort to resolve the lingering ASUU strike.”

Prof Rasheed lamented the five months old strike embarked upon by ASUU and sympathized with the vice chancellors on the trauma the situation must have put them through.

He said the retreat was aimed at identifying lasting stability in tertiary institutions, the effort of the government to end the ongoing strike and how the universities spend their resources now that they are closed among others.

Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, in his remarks, noted that the government was aware of the key roles of Vice Chancellors of Universities and Directors of Inter-University Centres in the development of the Nigerian University System, and in ensuring that the mandates of their respective institutions are fulfilled.

Read also: Osun 2022: I was certain PDP would win election – BoT Chair Jibrin

The minister who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Obia, added that it was crucial to build resilient and stable systems that function at the optimal capacity.

He said: “As part of this all-important retreat, it is imperative that we continually reshape our understanding of what is right or wrong in administration as well as the consequences of falling short of expectations”.

“The prevailing security situation in the country, coupled with the ravaging effect of the COVID-19 pandemic added a new dimension to the myriad of challenges faced by the ivory towers, in recent times.

“The challenges traverse dwindling funding, inadequate and dilapidated infrastructure and facilities, and the pressures from the activities of university-based unions with its resultant effect on academic stability”.

“There is a compelling need to ensure transparency and accountability in the application of resources, creative mobilisation of alternative sources of funding, enhanced access to university education, and the production of graduates with relevant 21st-century skills, expertise and competencies to meet the need of the contemporary world of work.”

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had declared a two-day nationwide protest for Tuesday and Wednesday next week, following the continued closure of the public universities in Nigeria.

It faulted the federal government’s purported rejection of the Prof Nimi-Briggs Committee on the premise of alleged disparity between the pay rise allocated to the academic and non-academic staff of universities.

NLC said the planned protest will take place in all the States capital and Abuja, starting from NLC’s secretariat, Abuja.

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