In the midst of the unending impasse of the current Strikes of the four University-based Unions which was nearing 160 days, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has directed the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to take full charge of the negotiations and resolve the prolonged strike of the unions and report back to him within two or a maximum of three weeks’ time.
He gave the directive last Tuesday after receiving briefings from the relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in resolving the face-off with the university-unions.
In line with public outcry, President Buhari, who heard from the concerned MDAs, immediately instructed the Minister of Education to ensure that the impasse was resolved within two weeks and a report of the resolution brought to him.
As gathered from the meeting, the President also directed that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, should sit in as the Conciliator in any of the meetings to resolve the crisis. Also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, was drafted into the team that would interface with the striking unions.
Despite the expression of misgivings against the Minister of Labour and Employment by the Leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), it was reported that President Buhari commended Dr. Ngige for his efforts so far to resolve the face-off.
Those at the meeting were Ministers Adamu Adamu, Education; Dr. Zainab Ahmed, Finance, Budget and National Planning; Dr. Ngige, Labour and Employment; and Prof. Isa Pantami, Communications and Digital Economy.
Also present was the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan; Chairman of National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta and the Director-General, Budget Office, Dr. Ben Akabueze.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had proceeded on a one-month warning strike on February 14, this year, and other unions also withdrew their service after that as a result of their alleged inability of the Federal Government to meet up with their demands.
The three other unions that embarked on the strike are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).