As the unending face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government enters the fourth month, there are indications that a new renegotiated agreement may emerge soon as a replacement for the failed 2009 pact.
Recall the Federal Government in March inaugurated the seven-man committee chaired by the Pro-Chancellor, Alex Ekweme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State, Emeritus Prof. Nimi Briggs with the responsibility of renegotiating the controversial 2009 agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and bring an end to the ongoing industrial action by the public university lecturers and workers
At the renewed talks, which were held at the National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja office, the meeting though considered progressive, ended without a concrete agreement as members planned to reconvene today Wednesday, or Thursday to consider a draft agreement.
Meanwhile, a source revealed that some of the fresh deals reached with the federal government team and the Nimi Briggs Committee necessitated a reschedule of the meeting.
This is to enable government negotiators to hold talks with their principal to avoid the pitfalls of the 2009 pacts and subsequent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) that hit the rocks due to the government’s lackluster attitude to end the embarrassing situation.
Though there was no comment from the renegotiation Committee Chairman, Prof Nimi Briggs, however, the President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke, described the meeting as fair, saying the union looks forward to the government responding to the issues discussed with the committee.
He added that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) is also undergoing another round of integrity tests by the National Information Technology Development Agency.
Speaking on the possibility of calling off the strike soon as a fallout of the fair talks with the Briggs Committee, Osodeke said, ‘‘I don’t know if we are calling off the strike soon. We are waiting for the final response from the federal government.”
“It is a committee of different government agencies. They need to go back to their principal and look at what we agreed on and then get back to us. When they respond to us, we will give you full details.”
Reactions From Parents Over ASUU Strike
However, students, parents and guardians have continued to lament the destructive impact the lingering 13 years of crises have had on learning in public universities.
Mr. Olusola Alake, whose children’s education has been put on hold said it was painful that innocent youths are made to go through the trauma of being outside the environment where they are supposed to be as youths.
Mrs. Henrietta James expressed concerns about the negative and future impacts of the crises on the life of her boy.
“To avoid double jeopardy and mingling with friends with questionable character, I have restricted my boy at home reading, and taking online tutorials.”
Tunde Osunlaja, a 200-level Economics student of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State cried, “I am worried that with 2 references in 100 level, learning is becoming less interesting to me.
“How will I cope with the fire brigade approach that will follow after the strike is suspended and lectures resume?”, Osunlaja sobbed[carousel_slide id='8496']