THE Federal Government on Wednesday inaugurated the reconstituted government team for the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements between the Federal Government of and Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), as well as other university-based unions, as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Federal Government team, which is categorised into substantive members, advisers and observers, is led by Professor Emeritus Munzali Jibril. The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who inaugurated the renegotiation team, expressed the commitment of the government in ensuring that the about nine-month strike by ASUU is called off for academic activities to resume in public universities.
Renegotiation of 2009 agreement has been one of the contending issues in the protracted strike by ASUU, but the minister apologised for delay in reconstitution of the renegotiation team. He said: “As you are quite aware, the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders, in the past months, have been neck deep in several meetings with the leadership of ASUU and others to resolve the outstanding issues that led to the current industrial action in public universities.
“It is noteworthy that although, most of residual issues were part of the comprehensive agreement reached with the previous administration, I can report that significant progress has, so far, been recorded and there is an opportunity that our public universities, like their private counterparts, will soon reopen for academic activities. “Let me re-affirm the commitment of the present administration to finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the education sector and most especially, the university sub-sector.
“Government is determined to, within available resources, provide the requisite environment, infrastructure as well as improve the conditions of service for all categories of staff in Nigerian universities. “Government, like other stakeholders, is also worried about the vicious cycle over the years of the myriad of industrial actions by one staff union or the other.
“The cumulative effect has been the obvious loss of productive and precious man-hours needed by the universities to fulfil their tripod mandates of teaching, research and community action. He said the Federal Government team was expected to take another look at the 2009 agreements reached with the university-based unions and work with each union towards making far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system.
He stressed that it had become necessary and urgent for all hands to now be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents and the general public. He listed others in the member category as: Ambassador Nimota Nihinola Akanbi, Pro-Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Professor Emeritus Nimi Briggs, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University Ndufu Alike, Ikwo. Also, among the advisers are the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC); Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund); Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC); Chairman, Committee of Vice-Chancellors of state-owned Universities and the Chairman, Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU). Adamu charged them that they had been carefully selected in recognition of their records in university management and academic leadership, saying the team which is also well tested, comprises technocrats and some of the shining lights and Nigeria’s leading figures in higher education. The terms of reference of the team include re-negotiate the residual issues in the 2009 agreements between the Federal Government and the university-based unions, towards a workable and implementable agreement between both parties, such that will facilitate a repositioning of Nigerian universities for greater responsibilities in national development. The Chairman of the renegotiation team, Emeritus Professor Jibril, thanked the Federal Government for the confidence reposed on them, while assuring early submission of report that would guide government action in creating industrial harmony and conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning universities in Nigeria.
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