The federal government has reacted to news making the rounds that vice president Yemi Osinbajo has taken over talks between the FG and striking university lecturers.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige had made the declaration on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that the VP has taken over parts of the negotiation with the academics.
Ngige stated that this was part of the council’s resolutions at the meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, his first meeting with all the members of the cabinet, since his return from medical vacation on August 19.
“This is the first national strike that this government is facing and we want to discuss.
At council today, 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 Academic Staff Union of Universities (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,’’ Ngige said.
Reacting to the development on Thursday, Osinbajo’s spokesperson Laolu Akande tweeted:
“News reports that VP Osinbajo has taken over ASUU negotiations is untrue & inaccurate. Labour & Education Ministers continue to lead the talks.”
In a statement on Friday, Akande said the media misrepresented what Ngige meant, saying that the labour and education ministers are still in charge of negotiations.
ASUU is demanding the full implementation of the 2009 agreements reached with the federal government bordering on improvement in welfare and payment of backlog of salaries and entitlements, among other issues.
The union embarked on the strike August 14, 2017.