Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will meet today in a last ditch efforts to resolve the lingering crisis in the University System.
As a prelude to the meeting scheduled for 10.00a.m today, the Federal Government was locked in a meeting with the Vice Chancellors of the federal universities for about two hours on Monday. Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, who chaired the meeting held at the auditorium of the National Universities Commission (NUC), had said the meeting was a normal interaction with the vice chancellors and before the commencement of the meeting, excused journalists, personal assistants, his aides and all others, except the vice chancellors, ostensibly to prevent leakage of their deliberations.
Wike, after the closed door meeting declined comment to newsmen, but told journalists that the government would be meeting with the leadership of ASUU today.
However, it was gathered that the meeting was to see how the universities that have been shut for about four months now could be reopened to students as well as fine-tune discussion on the position of the government against the meeting with ASUU today.
It was gathered, on Monday, that the meeting today would afford the ASUU to report to the government about the position of the union on the offers by the Federal Government so far.
The fresh accord struck by the Vice-President Namadi Sambo with the union, government had agreed to increase the N30 billion already released for the payment of academic earned allowance to N40 billion.
Accordingly, vice chancellors were urged to expedite the disbursement within the shortest possible time using guiding templates that have been sent by the Committee of Vice Chancellors to them.
On the implementation of the Needs Assessment to Nigerian Universities report, it was stated that the government was cognisant and mindful of the ability of universities to effectively and efficiently utilise the N100 billion fund immediately, hence that figure.
Also, on project prioritisation, universities would now be allowed to determine their priorities and not be “rail-roaded” into implementing a pre-determined set of projects with respect to the NEEDS assessment. Decisions are not to be centralised.
Although, the President of ASUU, Dr Nasir Isa Fagge, could not confirm the willingness of ASUU to attend today’s meeting, it was gathered that zonal meetings of ASUU in their various universities were held last week to collate opinion of the members of the government offers.