By Vanessa Idoko, Abuja
The two months old strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), is set to come to an end as the Federal Government and the leadership of the union, reached an agreement on Monday night, in Abuja.
At the end of the meeting, yesterday, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, announced that an agreement had been reached.
He said the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance had confirmed with evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to cover funding in public universities; just as President Muhammadu Buhari had approved N20 billion to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 to 2012 audit verified earnings in the universities.
He also said the earned allowances will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.
Rising from the meeting on Monday, national president of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review its decisions based on the new commitment by the federal government, at a yet to be scheduled NEC meeting, after which it will determine whether to call off the strike or not.
It would be recalled that the university lecturers commenced an indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, over poor funding of universities and non-implementation of previous agreements with the government.
Talks between the Federal Government and ASUU resumed on Monday, after six other meetings held between both parties since the strike began had failed to yield results.
ASUU had earlier said it would not honour further calls by the federal government for a meeting with its members on the strike, but its leadership, led by the national president, attended yesterday’s meeting.
The ASUU delegation arrived at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment at about 4:30 pm for the meeting which had other stakeholders such as the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Sunny Echono and the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba; as well as officials from the National Universities Commission, Head of Service and Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.
Minister of Labour and Employment, who led the government delegation, in his opening remarks, had expressed confidence that the meeting would be short and fruitful, adding that feelers from the Federal Government gave reason to hope that an agreement would be reached tonight.
”The deliberation will be short as the government has done a lot of work since the meeting was adjourned,” he said.