As part of efforts to resolve the protracted industrial action by university lecturers, President Muhammadu Buhari has committed to engaging in more consultations to end the strike.
Buhari gave this indication on Friday when the Chairman and select members of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The umbrella body for university lecturers, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has embarked on a strike since February 14 over issues ranging from welfare to equipment the instructions.
However, during Friday’s meeting with the Pro-Chancellors, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President told his visitors that 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 were led to the meeting by Professor Nimi Briggs, who said they had come to meet with the President in three capacities: “As President and Commander-in-Chief, as the father of the nation, and as Visitor to the Federal universities.”
He added that despite the pall cast by more than seven months of industrial action, “the future of the university system in the country is good,” citing as an 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.
Prof Briggs commended Federal Government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5% across the 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 the 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.