The Federal Government has again set up a 14-man committee to look into the grey areas of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) demands.
Mr Ben Goong, the Spokesperson of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, disclosed this at a press conference at the end of the meeting involving the Federal Government, Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors of public universities on Tuesday in Abuja .
Members of the committee are Prof. Nimmi Briggs, Chairman, ASUU/FG negotiation team, Prof. Olu Obafemi, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal University, Minna, and Udo Udoma, former Minister of Budget and National Planning.
Others include Prof. Bashir Dalhatu, an elder statesman, Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Prof. Lilian Salami, Vice Chancellor, University of Benin.
Also, Prof. Duro Oni, the President, Academics of letters, Prof. Akinsanya Osibogun, President, Academics of Medicine and the President of Academic of Science made the list.
Prof. Charles Igwe, Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar and Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) are also included.
“After enormous two-hours deliberations, the meeting constituted a committee made up of four Pro-Chancellors, five Vice Chancellors and others, to be chaired by the minister of education to further look at the grey areas ASUU is demanding, particularly the areas where there has been no consensus.
“As I speak to you, that committee is meeting and they will proceed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the outcome of the deliberations of that committee.
“Two basic areas that the committee will be looking at is the ‘no work no pay’ issue and the issue of remuneration of university lecturers,” he said.
On the demand of ASUU to use the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), Goong explained that it was not part of the areas under consideration as government had already set up a committee to fine-tune the two payment platforms including the existing IPPIS.
He said that in few days’ time, the committee would conclude and thereafter meet with President Muhammad Buhari.
On if the earlier Nimi Briggs committee would be jettisoned in place of the new committee, Goong said the new committee was in continuation of the Briggs committee.
“The meeting is on government side. There has been appeals for the government to take a second look at the ‘no work, no pay’ measure and that is one of the issues that the committee will look at,” he said.
Also, Prof. Peter Okebukola, the Chairman, Governing Council, National Open Universities (NOUN) expressed worry over the shut-down of the universities.
Okebukola promised that the dark cloud would soon clear as lecturers would in no time resume work, saying that the committee would conclude in no distant time.
He, therefore, said that the government was open to continued discussions and deliberations to end the strike.
On ranking of Nigerian universities, Okebukola said that the 2022 ranking was about to be concluded, saying that the ranking by the National Universities Commission (NUC) was the best in the world.
He said that this was due to the inclusivity, transparency and the credibility of its data.