President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend in Abuja met with the chairman and select pro-chancellors of federal universities, for an engagement on the seven-month-old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The president promised to engage in further consultations with relevant stakeholders, towards ending the protracted strike by the university lecturers, according to a statement sent out by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina.
The president said without necessarily going back on what is already established policy, “I will make further consultations, and I’ll get back to you.”
The pro-chancellors were led to the meeting by Nimi Briggs, a professor, who said they had come to meet with the president in three capacities: “As president and commander-in-chief, as father of the nation, and as visitor to federal universities.”
Briggs added that despite the pall cast by more than seven months of industrial action, “the future of the university system in the country is good,” citing as example the recent listing of the University of Ibadan among the first 1,000 universities in the world, a development occurring for the first time.
He commended the Federal Government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5 percent across board, and 35 percent for professors.
He, however, asked for “further inching up of the salary, in view of the economic situation of the country.”
The pro-chancellors also asked for a reconsideration of the No-Work, No-Pay stance of government, promising that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation was reached, and schools reopened.
Minister of state for education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said all the concessions made by the Federal Government were to ensure that the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant.