The ray of hope which emerged Wednesday for embattled students of public-owned universities with the announcement, that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had taken over the headship of the Federal Government team that will negotiate with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been denied by the Presidency.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had told State House Correspondents at the post-Federal Executive Council briefing that Osinbajo had taken over some aspects of negotiations with the striking lecturers.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, however through his twitter handle described the report as “untrue and inaccurate.”
Ngige had stated: “At council today (Wednesday), the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions. So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting and we are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that is preventing them from going back to work.”
But 72 hours after Ngige made the disclosure, Akande through his twitter handle @akandeoj twitted “News reports that VP Osinbajo has taken over ASUU negotiations is untrue & inaccurate.”
He emphasised that Ngige and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, will continue to lead the discussions. “Labour & Education Ministers continue to lead d talks,” he twitted.
The lecturers downed tools for over two weeks now after they unanimously voted “yes” in a referendum called to ascertain whether to resume the strike they suspended last January.
ASUU, on August 13, began a nationwide strike over failure of the government to implement an agreement it reached with the union in 2009. The union also alleged that the Federal Government did not implement the Memorandum of Understanding both sides signed in 2013.
ASUU, in a statement on Tuesday, said it would call off its strike after receiving a positive response to its demands from the Federal Government. But on Tuesday, it boycotted a scheduled meeting with the government.