Four days into the one-month warning strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said the government was surprised by the union’s action, saying it was still “looking for ASUU” to continue the dialogue on its demands.
The minister, who spoke to the media on Wednesday shortly after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the government and the striking lecturers will soon reach an agreement towards ending the ongoing industrial action.
But the union has denied the minister’s claim, saying it received no invitation from the government.
ASUU had on Monday announced the commencement of the strike after its National Executive Council meeting which was held at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka.
ASUU wants the government to address its demands including the immediate deployment of its University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace the government-imposed Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS); release a white paper on the visitation panel to federal universities, endorse the renegotiated 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement, among others.
The minister was quoted to have said all the lingering issues are being addressed and that he was surprised when ASUU declared the strike on Monday.
Mr Adamu said the government is keen on a peaceful resolution with the union.
The minister was quoted to have said: “Certainly, we are going to reach an agreement and it will be very soon. Unfortunately they have gone on strike and I am just looking for them because all the issues are being addressed.
“The last thing that happened was the committee that looked at their demands; the re-negotiation that is going on. They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at; a committee is looking at it.
“Immediately it finishes, then the government will announce what it has accepted. Then, suddenly I heard them going on strike. So, actually, I’m looking for ASUU.
“The federal government is ready to meet them on all the issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, I think it is not the fault of the government.”
But when contacted, ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the government or its delegation has not reached out to the union.
“Not true. They did not reach out to us” Mr Osodeke simply wrote in a text message to our reporter.We are social! follow us on: