Varsities will soon re-open, FG assures students


By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Federal Government has given the assurance that its face-off with the university unions – Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will soon be resolved and academic activities resume in earnest.

It has also denied the allegation that it was planning to create a different payment table for the ASUU.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ngige said that the government was interested in seeing the students going back to school.

This is as the government has summoned all the relevant agencies including the National Information Development Agency, NITDA to brief it on the success so far recording in resolving the contentious issues that led to the ongoing strike by the four university based unions.

Recall that the public universities were shutdown on February 14 by the ASUU and the other three university based unions, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions, NASU and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, joined in the strike over the inability of the government to address their concerns.

The Minister said that the meeting on Thursday (today) is expected to look at the progress report by the relevant bodies handling the crisis including NITDA on how far it has gone with the integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS which was proposed as an alternative platform by ASUU and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System, U3PS, proposed by SSANU and NASU.

Ngige said he was waiting for the report of the Tripartite Plus Committee comprising the Ministry of Education, the Chief of Staff, Salaries and Wages Income Commission, the National University Commission, NUC as well as the striking unions.

On the allegation that the federal government was planning to create a separate salary payment structure for the ASUU, the Minister said there was no veracity in such allegation.

The Minister said, “It will be resolved very soon. It will be resolved very soon.”