The President, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, on Wednesday said he has not been invited to any meeting with government officials.
Ogunyemi said the Federal Government had only responded to its August 28, 2017 letter, in which the union had listed the minimum demands that must be met before it would call off the ongoing strike.
He added that the union would deliberate on the response before accepting or rejecting the offer.
“Yes, they (government) have responded to our letter and we are discussing with them. We will discuss their offer with our members and then get back to them,” he said on the telephone, but declined to provide further details.
When asked if the union had a meeting with government officials on Wednesday, Ogunyemi said, “No, I have not been invited to any meeting, we have only received a response to our letter.”
ASUU had, on Tuesday, boycotted a scheduled meeting with a Federal Government delegation in Abuja.
Asked if the government had paid the N23bn, a source stated, “No, I didn’t think they have paid anything. They have an offer to what they said they would pay and ASUU gave what it said was a counter position.”
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had said on August 18, 2017 that the Federal Government had offered to release N23bn to ASUU.
The government had insisted that the sum of N30bn released to the universities should be subjected to forensic investigation.
Investigation by one of our correspondents revealed that there were no signs that the meeting scheduled to hold between the union and the government on Wednesday or Thursday would take place.
Officials of the ministry, who confided in The PUNCH, said there was no mention of the meeting from the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment.
It was learnt that the minister would have a meeting with the National Association of Resident Doctors in his office at 10 am on Thursday.
The PUNCH could not get the Deputy Director in charge of Press, Mr. Samuel Olowookere, and the Special Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Nwachukwu Obidiwe, to comment on the issue as they did not return calls to their telephones on Thursday.
The Federal Government’s negotiation team with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities will now be headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, said this during an interview with State House correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ngige said the government would ensure that an agreement was reached so that the striking university teachers could return to work.
The minister stated, “The government thanks the parents and even the students, who are supposed to take their examinations now but have been forced by circumstances beyond their control to stay at home. I have one of my children at home as we speak.
“Government will make sure that we reach a conclusive agreement with ASUU so that they can go back to the classrooms. This is the first national strike that this government is facing and we want to discuss.
“At council today, the Vice-President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions. So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that are preventing them from going back to work.”