President Muhammadu Buhari Friday at State House, Abuja, met with the Chairman and select members of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities, promising to engage in further consultations with relevant stakeholders, towards ending the protracted strike by university lecturers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The president said without necessarily going back on what is already established policy, “I will make further consultations, and I’ll get back to you.”
The Pro-Chancellors who were led to the meeting by Professor Nimi Briggs, said they had come to meet with the President in three capacities: “As President and Commander-in-Chief, as father of the nation, and as Visitor to the Federal universities.”
Professor Briggs added that despite the pall cast by more than seven months of industrial action, “the future of university system in the country is good,” citing as example the recent listing of the University of Ibadan among the first 1,000 universities in the world, a development occurring for the first time.
He commended Federal Government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5% across board, and 35% for Professors. He, however, asked for “further inching up of the salary, in view of the economic situation of the country.”
The Pro-Chancellors also asked for a reconsideration of the No-Work, No-Pay stance of government, promising that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation was reached, and schools reopened.
Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said all the concessions made by Federal Government were to ensure that the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant.