The Chairman and a few members of the Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday at State House in Abuja. He committed to continue consultations with relevant parties in an effort to put an end to the long-running strike by university lecturers, which is being led by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
I will hold additional consultations, and I’ll get back to you, the president said, without necessarily reversing the course of already-established policy.
The Pro-Chancellors stated they had met 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.” Professor Nimi Briggs had escorted them to the meeting.
Professor Briggs continued, “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 top 1,000 universities in the world, a development occurring for the first time, despite the shadow cast by more than seven months of industrial action.
He applauded the Federal Government for the concessions previously given to the lecturers on strike, including the pledge to raise salaries by a total of 23.5% for all employees and 35% for professors. However, he requested “further inching up the salary, in view of the country’s economic circumstances.”
The Pro-Chancellors also urged the government to rethink its policy of “No Work, No Pay,” assuring that professors would make up for a lost time as soon as an acceptable resolution was achieved and schools resumed operations.
Goodluck Nana Opiah, the minister of state for education, said that all of the concessions made by the federal government were intended to put a stop to the strike, but ASUU has persisted.