The first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari could not arrive at any meaningful decision to pacify members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which recently embarked on an indefinite strike.
Instead, the president mandated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to take over
the negotiations. He specifically instructed the vice president to sit down with government officials and take a holistic look into demands raised by the union with a view to ending the strike.
ASUU had on Tuesday shunned a meeting with government officials at the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the conditions that its demands which had been agreed upon in 2009 and 2013 be met.
Among conditions raised by ASUU which government was expected to meet before the strike would be called off include registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), discontinuation of the fractionalisation of salaries in federal universities, improved funding for state universities, payment of arrears and implementation of Earned Academic Allowance.
ASUU also expects the Federal Government to order the release of fund for revitalisation of public universities as spelt out in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding, prioritise guidelines for retirement benefits of professors in line with 2009 FGN/ ASUU agreement, exclude universities from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and rescind its decision on funding support for universities staff primary schools.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, Ngige confirmed the appointment of Osinbajo as chief negotiator.
He said already four ministers, Head of Service of the Federation and the
acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation had been appointed to be part of the government team.
-INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS NIGERIA