Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment has said that the Federal Government would explore other provisions in the labour law if the disagreement between the FG and the striking lecturers is not resolved by next week.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and representatives of the Federal Government are expected to meet again this week to resolve the lingering crisis.
On March 24, 2020, the union embarked on an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them.
The union and the government have also been at loggerheads over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Speaking on Friday, November 13, 2020, on Channels TV, Ngige said the government has met six of the union’s nine demands.
“Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table. I’m inviting them (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I’m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter”, he said.
When asked about the possibility of lecturers returning to the classrooms in the next one or two weeks, the Labour Minister said, “I’m not looking at that (long) period. I’m an optimist on this matter. By next week, we will conclude this matter. There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws. I have other channels.”
On the revitalisation fund, Ngige said government had agreed to release N30bn out of the N40bn demanded by the union as the payment for November 2019 and September 2020.
He added that the remaining N10bn would be staggered.