After three hours of talks, the much-awaited meeting between Federal Government officials and representatives of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ended with no formal agreement signed by the parties.
Leaders of the striking lecturers met with the Nimi Briggs Committee renegotiating the 2009 Agreements with the university unions at the National Universities Commission (NUC) Secretariat.
A source at the meeting told our reporter that what the government team proposed to the ASUU was a far-cry from the demands of the striking varsity teachers union.
The source said: “The meeting didn’t end well. What the government proposed was a far cry from ASUU’s demands.
“The meeting didn’t meet the demands of ASUU. What the government was proposing was a far cry from the expectations of ASUU.
“If the government feels there is no money for them to pay and they want the universities to remain shut, it is okay.”
It was gathered that the committee begged ASUU to call off the strike with the pledge that their demands would be captured in next year’s Appropriation Act.
The lecturers, it was further gathered, rejected the plea and insisted on its demands being met before calling off the strike.
The meeting which started about 12 noon ended around 3pm in a stalemate
On February 14, ASUU members embarked on a strike to press home their demands for a better welfare package, revamping of the nation’s education sector among others, a situation that has forced many Nigerian students to be at home.
Worried by the lingering industrial dispute, President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 19 directed Adamu to proffer a solution to the challenge and report back to him in two weeks.
Adamu offered to take over negotiations with the university unions from Labour and Employment Minister Senator Chris Ngige, who had been at the forefront on the negotiations on July 19, 2022.
The minister subsequently gave himself two to three weeks to reach agreement with the unions and revert to the President.
Nothing has been heard of the efforts made by the Education minister since the ultimatum ended on August 9, a development that forced the union to extend the six month-old strike by four weeks.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, said last week that the Federal Government was not in a position to borrow N1.2 trillion yearly to resolve the long running strike embarked by ASUU.
He said: “Should we go and borrow to pay N1.2 trillion yearly?”, Keyamo said napped while fielding questions on Channels Television.
“You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion. And you have roads to build, health centres to build, other sectors to take care of.”
He urged parents to beg ASUU, drawing angry reactions from many Nigerians.