PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday gave the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, two weeks within which to resolve the prolonged strike embarked upon by the four university-based unions and report back to him.
Recall that unions in the aviation and banking sectors had on Monday, threatened to team up with the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, in the protest planned for next Tuesday and Wednesday against government’s refusal to resolve the varsity unions’strike.
The four unions in the university system, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions, NASU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, had been on strike for over five months as a result of government’s failure to meet their demands.
The demands include withdrawal of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system, IPPIS, and adoption of University, Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, for ASUU; and the University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System, U3PS or UPPPS for the non-academic unions, among others.
Although parents, under the aegis of National President, National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, saw the president’s directive as a huge relief, ASUU, however, expressed doubts about government’s seriousness about the strike.
This is even as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, which has been mobilising for protest against the government for next week, welcomed whatever it said was needed to resolve the varsity workers’ crises, saying though NLC was not aware of the ultimatum given to education minister, it was in support of it.
However, President Buhari, who gave the directive after receiving briefings from the relevant government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, involved in resolving the face-off with the university unions, after he summoned a meeting yesterday to hear from the government team on why the strike had lingered for too long.
The President after hearing from the relevant MDAs directly involved, ordered the Minister of Education to ensure that the impasse was resolved within two weeks and report back to him.
Sources at the meeting also said the president directed that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, must be in any of the meetings to resolve the crisis.
The sources further said that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha, was asked to be part of the team to interface with the striking unions.
It was learned that the President commended Ngige on his efforts so far to resolve the face-off with the striking university unions,
Those at the meeting were the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Chairman of National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta and the Director-General, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.