The federal government on Monday 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 National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the union’s delegation to Monday’s meeting.
The ASUU delegation arrived at the ministry some minutes before 4:00 p.m., but no member of the federal government delegation was initially around.
The meeting, which is holding at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja is not the first since the beginning of the strike.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, at least six other meetings have been held between both parties.
The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, was absent at the time the meeting started but the permanent secretary, Sunny Echono, was present to represent the minister.
Addressing the ASUU delegation, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the aim of the meeting is to ensure the teachers get back to work.
Mr Ngige declared open the technical session of the meeting at exactly 5:25 pm.
Meanwhile, Mr Ogunyemi maintains the union wants the government to get it right this time around.
He said it is essential for its demands to be met to ensure quality education
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.
One 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.