Richard Ginika Izuora
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, December 22, has hinted that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would suspend its prolong strike before January 15.
Ngige, had expressed similar optimism on the suspension of the strike in a chat with journalists at the weekend.
This came as a response to the part-payment of the university lecturers’ salary arrears by the government.
Ngige, who spoke at the meeting with ASUU in Abuja, added that the federal government has not received a letter from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) who threatened to embark on protests if the two parties failed to resolve their dispute before the end of the year.
He said: “The government would disappoint all those wishing for the protests as all the matters in dispute must have been resolved by January 15.
“Those who want to use the #EndASUU protest to destroy public and private property or lecturers’ homes will be disappointed.
“I am optimistic that the meeting will produce the final result that will make everybody happy.
“We are hopeful that ASUU will then take the report of what we achieved today to their members. We allow social dialogue in line with International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions for all employers and employees, to guide this meeting.”
In his response, the ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi sympathised with the students over the prolonged strike.
He said no amount of sacrifice would be too much to get the dispute resolved as long as the government remained consistent in its commitments.
He, however, insisted that only the National Executive Committee of ASUU could announce the suspension of the strike.