The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has met with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors of Universities to discuss how to end the lingering strike.
According to a report, the meeting which was held on Wednesday September 14, 2022, was proposed by the peace team set up by the vice-chancellors.
The peace team comprises past vice-chancellors and pro-chancellors such as the former pro-chancellor of the University of Calabar, Senator Nkechi Nwagogu; former vice-chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Prof J.D. Amin; and former vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Emeritus Professor A.O. Bamiro, among others.
A source familiar with the matter, who did not want his name in print as he was not permitted to speak to the press, noted, “The meeting was originally proposed by the peace team that was set up by the committee of vice-chancellors.”
The meeting, which was held at the National Universities Commission, discussed issues such as funding, the release of the revitalisation fund, the withheld salaries, adjustment of salaries and most importantly ending strikes permanently in universities.
“It was not a negotiation meeting; the VCs and the Pro-chancellors are not from the government’s side; to me, they just came to share their opinions on the matter.”
Former vice-chancellors, in a communiqué released on Wednesday, hailed the Federal Government for approaching the National Industrial Court in a bid to end the strike.
The communiqué partly read, “We are aware that the Federal Government has sought a legal interpretation of the nature and character of the dispute as a way of breaking the deadlock.
“This is novel, and we applaud the move as civilised, however, both parties will faithfully abide by the provisions of Industrial Arbitration as enshrined in the International Labour Organisation Conventions.”
They proposed a middle ground where the government can resolve the trust issues by taking action to propose to the National Assembly its decision on improved funding.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the International Labour Organisation’s Country Director, Vanessa Phala, has stated that the organisation is providing technical assistance to the government to ensure that labour laws are amended.
She disclosed this at the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The ongoing strike by has entered its seventh month.
The union, on February 14, 2022, embarked on a strike following what it described as the failure of the government to meet some of its demands.
The union is calling on the government to improve the condition of service of university lecturers, release earned allowances for lecturers, and release revitalisation funds for universities, among other things.