There appears to be no end in sight yet for the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (Asuu) as yet another meeting with a Federal Government delegation ended without compromise on Friday.
Addressing newsmen after a closed-door meeting with the union on Friday in Abuja, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said the meeting was protracted.
He said, “The meeting was protracted, but the good news is that we have gotten to the end of the tunnel.
“We met them halfway and we have finished the gray areas and on the issue of N50 billion, we have offered what we have.
“We do not have N50 billion and we cannot do N50 billion, but we have offered them something reasonable.
“So they have to take it back, and go and present to their members”.
Ngige, however, expressed hope that students would return to school soon, saying “We will know when they will go back by Thursday”.
Earlier, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, Asuu President said the meeting had been adjourned to February 7.
“So, far on the level of progress made so far, I cannot tell you that now until I tell my members.
“It is the feedback of the last meeting we came to present to government today.
“But right now, we have a new set of information that we have to go and present to our members. Until we tell our members, we cannot tell you,” he said.
Ogunyemi noted that progress had been made on the ongoing negotiations.
He added that “We are making progress and the progress we are making is for everybody’s interest and stakeholders will benefit at the end of the day.
“We will be meeting on Thursday, after which, we will address the press.
“We have dealt with all areas, so the progress we have made must first be related to our members.
“So until we tell them, and they tell us what to do that, that is only when we can relate to the press. The meeting is adjourned till Thursday.
It would be recalled that the lecturers proceeded on strike on November 4, 2018, in protest of what they described as poor welfare, university revitalization among other demands.
The directive followed a meeting of leaders of the union then had at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The National President of Asuu, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, told journalists that the union took the decision due to the poor funding of universities in the country.
And Ogunyemi insists that the union would not suspend the strike until all offers made to it after their last meeting with the Federal Government had been fully implemented.
He, therefore, directed all members of the union across various universities in the country to withdraw their services, declaring that the strike would be total and indefinite.
The union had also blamed the strike on “Federal Government’s insincerity, deceitful approach and unwillingness to resolve the matter.”