By Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – THE Federal Government, yesterday, failed in its efforts to convince the Academic Staff Union of Universities,ASUU,to end the ongoing strike despite initial matching order for its representative at a meeting with the lecturer body to that effect.
After about four hours of the meeting held at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, led by the Minister,Senator Chris Ngige,the end result was deadlock.
The development followed the inability of both parties to shift common grounds.
ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi,speaking at the end of the marathon meeting, vowed that his organisation would continue with the ongoing strike unless government met the demands being pushed by the union
Ogunyemi, speaking at the rescheduled meeting with the government,said: “We have not suspended the strike, the discussion will continue at a later date. We are going back to our members for further consultation. FG gave us reaction to our proposals but there were still grey areas that we are trying to sort out.
“Before the strike can be suspended, the most critical area that FG must address is revitalization. It is central to our academic work, unless that area is addressed, our members will still have issues. We are not demanding for N50bn, we are saying that the minimum that FG can release to reactivate revitalization fund is N50bn.”
On his part, Senator Chris Ngige, who led government’s delegation, regretted that in spite of “substantial commitment to ASUU demands”, the body was yet to shift grounds.
Ngige,who expressed frustration at the development, said the government’s team would meet the leadership of ASUU again when they were prepared.
Ngige,who said he appeared at the meeting with hope of ending the strike as directed by President Buhari,regretted that the aim was not achieved.
“We did not take a long time than we anticipated. We have other commitments but the important thing is that we have made substantial progress. We have reached some agreements in seven areas. Most of the issues have been resolved but ASUU will need to consult its members and come with what they think,” he said.