**”Strike Still In Force” –ASUU President
Despite the lingering industrial strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since Nov. 5, 2018, the Federal Government said it has released N163 billion to the universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige made the disclosure while addressing newsmen after a closed door reconciliatory meeting with leaders of ASUU on Monday in Abuja.
According to Ngige, “Government has released about N163 billion from TETFund account to universities.
“So, we have gotten some substantial agreement in most of the areas of the agreement.
“Most of the issues have being resolved, so they are going to go back to their members and present government’s offer to their council,‘’ he said.
Earlier, the minister had said that President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated him to ensure that all issues concerning the ongoing strike in the university system were resolved.
“The president has directed me to pass the night here until all issues that have kept our children away from schools are resolved and strike called off.
“He has also directed me to impress upon you, the imperative of little sacrifice from all sides, knowing fully well that the revenue of the federation has dwindled from what it was before the present administration assumed office,” he said.
“These are debts of 2009, owed by the past administration, that is 2009 to 2012, so it is not our own debt and we have been doing a lot to settle these debts.
“So, we will be reconvening at the instance of ASUU. They said they want to go and consult with their members and they cannot call off the strike without consulting with their members,’’ he said.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said that there were still some grey areas in the proposal presented by the Federal Government.
“The most critical area is the revitalisation, because it is central to our work, as academics and unless that area is addressed our members will have issues with ongoing action.
“We also did not ask for N50 billion, we are saying that the minimum we expect government to release in order to reactive the revitalisation fund is N50 billion.
“So, the strike is still on,’’ he said.