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Ngige Anticipates End To Strike As FG, ASUU Resume Negotiations

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is hopeful that the ongoing strike by university lecturers will soon be called off.

He made the remark on Tuesday as the Federal Government resumes negotiations with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end the industrial action that has crippled academic activities in universities for about nine months.

Ngige, in his opening address at the meeting held in Abuja, urged the academics led by the ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, to ensure the discussions yielded the desired result.

According to him, the government has addressed all grey areas, and those who plan to occupy the streets in January 2021 to begin an #EndStrike protest will be disappointed.

Professor Ogunyemi, on his part, acknowledged that much progress has been made in the negotiations so far.

He was also hopeful that the meeting would end the long strike as his colleagues were all ready and willing to get back to work provided the government does what it ought to do.

After the minister and the ASUU president gave their remarks, the meeting entered into a technical session while journalists were barred from covering the proceedings.

Tuesday’s meeting comes a month after the Federal Government offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion to the lecturers to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.

At the meeting held on November 20, Ngige noted that the government had decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues that have kept students out of the classroom since March.

He explained that in its bid to resolve the impasse with ASUU, the sum of N15 billion from the amount offered by the government would be for more funds to revitalise the universities.

The minister stated that the fund was in addition to the N20 billion paid earlier, making it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government.

Professor Ogunyemi had also at the end of the meeting acknowledged that the government had made some new offers to the union and progress had been made.

He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.

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