The absence of Kemi Adeosun, the Finance Minister, has marred the resolution of crisis initiated by Bukola Saraki, the Senate President. The intervention by the Senate President into the one-week warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) could not yield any positive outcome.
At a marathon meeting with the national leadership of the Union on Wehe Ministry of Education as well as Labour and Productivity, no agreement was reached, as the Union vowed to continue with the strike.
The meeting which lasted for about three hours was presided over by Bukola Saraki.
The one-week warning strike which started on Wednesday enters its third day today, even as ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, told newsmen that the industrial action would continue.
Areas of disagreement between the Union and government include: payment of fraction of staff entitlement and the denial of staff entitlement in respect of earned academic allowance amounting to about N128 billion, funding of universities for revitalization and the refusal to register the the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company by the National Compensation Commission.
Others include the introduction of the TSA, decrease in budgetary allocation to education and the refusal by government to renegotiate the 2009 agreement which was due for renegotiation since 2012.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND, Barau Jibrin, disclosed that a sub-committee has been set up to resolve the issues. He said another meeting would hold today which would include the Finance Minister and Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.
Speaking on the issue, Jibrin said: “We have had a fruitful deliberation. And a way forward has been found by creating a sub-committee of this committee to sit and find out certain things in the Ministry of Finance which will bring us close to the resolution of this problem. We will start sitting by tomorrow (today) including the Ministry of Finance who has not been able to attend this meeting but we are sure she will be here tomorrow and the Director General of the Budget Office.
“We have created a template about how to resolve this problem. And you know ASUU is a democratic body, they have to consult. So, it’s ongoing, it’s a work in progress. And a very important headway has been created. A good template has been created. And we see light at the end of the tunnel”.
On their part, Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Ilo, commended the Senate leadership for its intervention and expressed optimism that the issues would be resolved very soon.
The Senate, on Tuesday, mandated Bukola Saraki to liaise with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Executive arm of government over the warning strike by the Union.