There are indications that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, will next week convene a meeting aimed at resolving issues surrounding the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
Those expected to be part of the meeting are the leadership of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council co-headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; and the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Samson Ayokunle; the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; and some other officials.
The Punch learnt that the leadership of ASUU will be reached out to after the meeting.
Ngige disclosed this to one of our correspondents in a telephone interview on Thursday.
The Punch had earlier reported that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), during a meeting with NIREC, mandated Ngige, Adamu and Gambari to look into the demands of ASUU.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with The Punch had said his union did not trust the government to implement its demands despite the promise by the President.
Ngige said, “Like I said, we were surprised ASUU went on strike despite telling NIREC that they wanted to go and consult with their NEC. We were expecting feedback from their NEC when the news about the declaration of strike came through.
“However, as soon as I return to the country on Sunday, I would convene a meeting with NIREC, Minister of Education, the Chief of Staff to the President and we would reach out to them.”
Osodeke could not be reached for comments on why his union failed to report back to the NIREC committee.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has started the process of inaugurating a white paper drafting panel on tertiary institutions.
The move by the government came exactly one year after the visitation panels inaugurated by the President on the lapses in the administration of tertiary institutions submitted their reports to the Director of Media and Public Relations, Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, stated that the ministry had constituted the panel which would be inaugurated soon.
In a statement titled “Federal Government constitutes white paper drafting panels for tertiary institutions,” Goong explained that 10 white paper drafting panels have been constituted.
The statement read, “Following the receipt of reports of visitation panels to tertiary institutions last year, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, has constituted White Paper Drafting Panels for Tertiary Institutions across the country.
“10 White Paper Drafting Panels have been constituted for 36 universities, while six panels have been constituted for 25 polytechnics with 21 Colleges of Education having five panels.
“One panel is to draft a White Paper for four inter-university centres. The panels will be inaugurated in the coming days.
“All the panels have two weeks from the date of inauguration to submit their reports.”
The management of the University of Jos has ordered students of the institution to vacate the campus till further notice, following the ASUU strike.
The university gave the order on Thursday in a statement signed by the institution’s Deputy Registrar, Information and Publications, Abdullahi Abdullahi.
According to him, the university took the decision after the Senate approved the suspension of academic activities as a result of the strike.
The statement read, “Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, Prof Tanko Ishaya has, on behalf of Senate of the university, approved the suspension of academic activities in the institution for the 2020/2021 Academic Session until further notice.
“This follows an emergency meeting of the university management where the issue of the one month warning strike declared by the ASUU was considered as it affects academic activities in the institution.”
Also, the Chairman of ASUU at the Federal University, Dutsin-ma Dr. Jibrin Shagari, is leading a team to monitor compliance with the union’s one month national strike at the institution.
Other executive members of the union at the university are members of the monitoring team.