Efforts by the Senate leadership led by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to avert the one week warning strike already embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday met a brick wall, as the academics failed to shift ground.
Briefing National Assembly Correspondents shortly after a closed door meeting with the Senate leadership, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi confirmed that the union has not called off the strike; saying they will meet with their members before any decision can be arrived at.
However, he said that ASUU was ready to work with the senate and the federal government in line with the mandate of the members of the union to resolve the strike, adding that ASUU does not enjoy embarking on strike except they are pushed to the wall.
He stressed that despite short notice, the union leaders attended the meeting, which he said indicates the level of their determination to resolve the incessant strikes by the union because of disagreement with government.
Nevertheless, a source in the meeting said that efforts and entreaties by the Senate President and his colleagues to cajole the university lecturers to call off the warning strike fell on deaf ears, as they were hell bent on going on with the strike.
On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education, Barau Jibril, who addressed press at the end of the closed door session, said the meeting produced a headway towards resolving the impasse between the government and ASUU.
According to him, “the meeting resolved to set up a sub committee, comprising of four members, to explore the headway which the Senate has spotted to ensure permanent resolution of the government, ASUU faceoff.”
He said “the committee will address the issues in the conflict”, and will meet with the ministries of budget, education, finance, labour and productivity, to capitalise on the leeway out of the strike.
While pointing out that the meeting will commence on Thursday, Jubril also said that the resolutions arrived at by the ASUU, Senate Sub-Committee and the federal government will be communicated to the Senate in one week.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwuka, said the government appreciated the initiatives that has helped to find a possible solution, even as he expressed hope that at the end of the meeting with the Senate, there will be a permanent solution to the problem of lingering strike.
ASUU began a week long warning strike on Wednesday, demanding that federal government should effect payment of Staff Entitlements; release of funds for the upgrade of universities infrastructures; payment of hazard allowances to the lecturers; and granting autonomy for the universities; among others.