THE deadline on the mandate by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and report back to him within two weeks elapsed on Tuesday, with the parties yet to make any headway in their negotiations.
ASUU embarked on strike on February 14 over unmet demands by the government.
Some of the demands date back to the unimplemented 2009 agreement the Federal Government had with the union.
ASUU’s strike has paralysed academic activities in all universities where its members downed tools.
On Monday, The ICIR reported how the union extended the strike by another four weeks following alleged failure by the government to address the impasse.
The ICIR also reported how the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), backed by some civil society organisations and students, organised a nationwide solidarity protest supporting ASUU on August 26 and 27.
Buhari had okayed for Adamu to work with other officials in his government to resolve the stalemate during a meeting with the relevant Federal Government officials in his office on July 19.
On Tuesday, The ICIR reporter contacted Ben. Bem Goong, Director, Press and Public Relations, in the Education Ministry, to get an update on the minister’s response to the president’s directive.
He did not respond to a text and Whatsapp messages sent to him.
His phone also call-forwarded the reporter’s number while attempting to reach him.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President Femi Adesina has stated that Buhari did not order the minister to resolve the crisis within two weeks as reported, but rather he gave approval when the minister made the request he should be allowed to take over the negotiation.
“Neither during nor after the meeting was ultimatum given to the Minister of Education.
During the meeting the Minister of Education requested the Minister of Labour hands off the negotiations to allow him conclude what he had earlier on started with ASUU.
And he promised that he could get an agreement within the shortest possible time. Possibly two to three weeks, ” Adesina wrote on Facebook.
Note: This report was edited to reflect Femi Adesina’ statement.