Despite the Federal Government’s declaration that it does not have the resources to meet the N92billion tranche of the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there appears to be a fresh hope for the Nigerian university students to return to school next week.
The Tide authoritatively learnt yesterday that, barring last minute change in plan, thought and body language of principal players in the impasse, the university lecturers may call off the more than three-month-old nationwide strike action by Tuesday.
The Tide gathered that the Federal Government’s NEEDS Assessment Implementation Committee headed by the Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan, and ASUU representatives have met at the Benue State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, where both parties reportedly agreed on virtually all contentious issues, which gave impetus to the industrial action, except one.
Our source, who is a member of the Federal Government NEEDS Assessment Implementation Committee and a former Professor at the University of Port Harcourt, said that the outstanding issue will be ironed out at the Monday meeting with the ASUU leadership.
The source said that the meeting was shifted to allow the committee brief the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan while ASUU leadership briefs members of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC).
According to our source, after the Monday meeting, ASUU representatives will still meet members of the union’s NEC to evaluate all the contentious issues to facilitate a final decision on whether to call off the strike or not, and the decision communicated to the Federal Government committee as quickly as possible.
The source said that the ASUU meeting on Monday is expected to ratify all the decisions reached during negotiations with government, and NEC approval of the agreement immediately announced.
He predicted that the decision is likely to result in the announcement of the suspension of the national strike by ASUU on Tuesday, and a directive that all lecturers should return to work and resume normal academic activities immediately.
It would be recalled that the Benue State Governor, Gabriel Suswan, had earlier this week in an interview with newsmen, given indications that the lingering crisis in the tertiary education sector would be resolved as soon as possible, adding that almost all outstanding issues have been resolved amicably.
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