The five-hour meeting held Thursday between the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), and the federal government with a view to ending the 12-day old strike embarked upon by public university lecturers ended in a deadlock.
This is coming as the Chairman of the FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Team, Dr. Wale Babalakin, has disclosed that the purported agreement by the federal government to release N220 billion annually into the university system was an unsustainable arrangement that did not emerge from the current renegotiation team or from that of the immediate past administration.
The federal government and ASUU teams , however, agreed that the negotiation will resume next week.
National President of ASUU, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, who spoke briefly to journalists immediately after the meeting ended last night, said the strike was still ongoing and would not be called off as ASUU’s demands were yet to be met.
According to him, “We have just started the discussions; we have not really gone far. So, what we have done today is just to open up the issues. So, the strike still continues. “We have not fixed a date for the next meeting but by tomorrow, we should know,” he added.
Ogunyemi while reacting to claims of the federal government over the ongoing strike before the commencement of the meeting, said universities in Nigeria had been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonisation under alleged democracy.
According to him, this has further retrogressed the economy in all spheres.
He buttressed the necessity of the strike and questioned the offer of N20 billion revitalisation fund despite the fact that the same government released N1.3 trillion to a distressed bank recently.
ASUU boss further reiterated that the strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite as members have withdrawn their services until government fully implements all outstanding issues as contained in the MoU of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.
“This strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite. Our members shall withdraw their services until government fully implement all outstanding issues as contained in the MOA of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.
“We have been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonisation under alleged democracy in which all that the ruling circle have been regrouping among themselves in their various faction they called political parties.”
Ogunyemi also argued that the government was not interested in public universities as the children of the top politicians and rich men in the society patronise private universities to the detriment of public institutions.