The executive members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday refused to take part in the inauguration of the seven-man committee set up by the federal government to renegotiate the 2009 agreements.
ASUU national president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, had stated that it would not be involved in any round of renegotiation with the government, following the reconstitution of the committee last week.
However, LEADERSHIP observed at the inauguration that it was a one-sided affair as ASUU members failed to participate in the meeting.
The minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who inaugurated the seven-man committee, urged them to conduct the assignment with seriousness and the urgency it deserves, considering the ongoing industrial action by ASUU.
“I wish to specially appeal to this reconstituted committee to double its effort towards concluding the assignment and producing a realistic and workable draft agreements that would holistically tackle the challenges confronting the NUS and reposition it to effectively play its very important role in national development,” the minister said.
It would be recall that the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreements between the federal government and the University-Based Staff Unions (ASUU, SSANU, NAAT and NASU) commenced on Monday, 13th February 2017, but due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, including COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise was dragged on till now.
The committee which is chaired by pro-chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs and six other members has three months to conclude the renegotiation with ASUU.
It has the following terms of reference: “Liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the Federal Government to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement, renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 agreements with other University-Based Unions, negotiate and recommend any other issue the Committee deems relevant to reposition the NUS for global competitiveness and submit proposed draft agreements within three (3) months from the date of inauguration.”
Responding on behalf of the committee, Briggs assured to work towards bringing an end to the crisis.
“We want to start by assuring you that we will do our best in this circumstance. We will identify the areas of the draft document that leads to the second look both by the government and our unions. Also, we want to assure our unions that we are all one in wishing that the Nigerian university system doesn’t go into strike and we want to work with you to come up with ways that this epidemic will stop.