Contrary to media reports about the outcome of the meeting held by the presidency on Tuesday with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the agitations by university unions, presidential aide, Garba Shehu has said the President Muhammadu Buhari did not give Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) any ultimatum to end the strike.
Some media reports had it that the president gave the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu two weeks ultimate to end the ASUU strike.
ASUU had also reacted to the report saying it had concluded negotiation with the government and was waiting for the ministers to sign the agreement reached with the university lecturers for them to call off the strike.
Shehu in a statement on Wednesday July 20, said “Neither during nor after the meeting was any ultimatum given to the Minister of Education.”
He said what transpired during the meeting was that the Minister of Education requested that the Minister of Labour hands off the negotiation to allow him lead and conclude what he had earlier on started with ASUU, promising to secure an “agreement within the shortest possible time, possibly two to three weeks.”
Shehu further stated that in carrying out the assignment, the Minister of Education would carry along all relevant ministries and agencies with statutory functions and duties relating to the issues involved.
He added that “The Presidency is optimistic that agreements can be reached in an even shorter period if all parties/stakeholders are not unrealistically obstinate. We appeal to the parties to work together to end the strikes.
“On the part of the administration, all doors remain open for dialogue and the resolution of the issues.
“We appeal to the media not try to spread misinformation. The orchestrated media narratives seeking to present an entirely different picture, attributed to sources, in the last 24 hours are not helpful at all.”
In attendance at the meeting were the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Ngige, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, the Chairman of National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta, the Director-General Budget Office, Ben Akabueze.
It was reported that the president called the meeting to ascertain why the strike by the university-based unions had persisted.
It would be recalled that ASUU embarked on strike on 14 February, 2022 (five months and seven days today), over unresolved issues in the 2009 agreement it had with the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has also said that it would embark on a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 in solidarity with the trade unions in the Nigeria public universities and others.
The NLC president, Ayuba Waba in a circular jointly signed with the Congress General Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, on Sunday in Abuja, directed all Chairpersons and Secretaries of NLC State Councils to lead the protest on the said days.