Posted by News Express | 14 August 2013 | 3,723 times
Chief Negotiator for the Nigerian Government in the ongoing talks with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State, has assured that a solution is in sight.
Speaking last night after the latest round of talks in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, Suswam, who is Chairman of the Presidential Universities Needs Assessment Committee, said: “Well, the meeting continues next week Monday. We made some progress, we had very fruitful discussion with ASUU and we have agreed we are to meet again on Monday at about three o’clock. When we meet again we will be able to arrive at some decisions.”
Upon being reminded that he had made a similar promise last week, Suswam said: “No, I said between one and two weeks. There is nothing wrong; you know we introduced some new faces, the minister of finance; you agree with me she is attending the meeting for the first time and also the Director General Budget. Now that Finance is coming, we are getting close to resolving it because the strike is about settling some debts and also intervening in the universities and so she is here and she also has contributed.
“We believe that when we meet next week Monday with ASUU we would have moved from where we are to the next stage. I can assure Nigerians that the President has taken this seriously as you can see the Minister of Finance and two ministers of education, Distinguished Senator, DG Budget, Minister of Labour, every person who should be here is here to show concern.
“I have spent so much time as governor being part of this which shows the seriousness which the President attaches to what is happening in the education sector. As I leave here, we are going to the second meeting which is on the Needs Assessment. We want to make sure that we solve this problem so we are holding meetings round the clock.
“We are making progress in the negotiations and we hope that we will be able to solve this problem soonest. The stage that we are now we are hoping that when we meet next week, we should be able to conclude on the discussion.
“The fact that we were unable to conclude today does not mean that the meeting is deadlocked; very fruitful meeting and I believe that when we meet next week, we will arrive at some conclusion.”
News Express reports that ASUU President, Comrade Nasir Isa Fagge, refused to speak with reporters, directing them to Suswam. Nigeria’s public universities have been deserted since Academic activities have become paralysed across Nigeria’s public universities following the indefinite strike launched July 1 by ASUU to protest government’s failure to implement the agreement it reached with the union in 2009.
•Photo shows Governor Suswam.
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