The federal government on Friday resumed talks with the leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the ongoing strike in public universities across the country.
The lecturers embarked on an indefinite strike on November 4, demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.
The meeting, currently holding at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja, is not the first since the beginning of the strike.
Prior to Friday’s meeting, at least eight other meetings held between both parties.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES earlier this week, the national president of the union, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the leadership of ASUU was still consulting with its members.
Mr Ogunyemi said the union would communicate its decision to the federal government before the end of the week.
In his opening remark on Friday, Mr Ogunyemi commended the government for issuing certificate for operation for the Nigerian University Pension Management Company from the National Pension Commission.
ASUU on Monday received the certificate of operation for the pension management company.
The refusal of the pencom commission to approve the teachers’ union’s pension commission for operation was one of the major issues in the dispute between the ASUU and the federal government.
Mr Ogunyemi said there are other areas the government needs to attend so that the strike can be resolved as soon as possible.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the union asked the Nigerian government to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with them.
The striking lecturers gave this as one of the conditions for calling off the strike.
A major issue dragging the negotiations forth and back is the “revitalisation” of the universities. At present, the government is yet to release the N1.1 trillion it agreed to release as part of the funds for the project.
The 2013 MoU stipulated that public universities need N1.3 trillion for ‘a modest revitalisation’.
The fund was to be released in tranches of N200 billion in 2013; N220 billion 2014; N220 billion 2015; 220 billion in 2016; N220 billion in 2017 and N220 billion in 2018.
The previous government of Goodluck Jonathan released N200 billion in 2013. Since then, no major bulk sum has been released.