In what may be considered as a positive signal to Nigerian students keen on going back to school, President of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) has given the clearest indication yet that Universities across the federation may re-open soon.
ASUU President, Nasir Fagge, told newsmen after a meeting with President Jonathan, which lasted for over 13 hours, that there was a message from the President which would be presented to ASUU members for consideration.
Fagge’s announcement is considered as a signal that the meeting, which started at 2:40 pm Monday after till about 3:30 am Tuesday could, perhaps, mark the beginning of the end of the strike.
Monday was the first time President Jonathan would be having a meeting with the striking lecturers since they embarked on a nationwide strike four months ago.
“We have had lengthy meeting with Mr. President, rubbing minds on how best to address the problem of university education in this country.” Nasir Fagge Said after the meeting.
“We now have a message from Mr. President that we are going to take to our members and we are expecting that our members will respond appropriately to the message of Mr. President.”
When asked when lecturers would be returning to the classrooms, the ASUU President said, “that is up to our members.”
“I cannot tell you, it’s not for you, it is for our members.” Was Fagge’s response when asked to disclose the message from the President.
On whether he was impressed with the President’s message, Mr. Faggae said, “Don’t put words into my mouth, our members will determine that.”
Labour Minister, Emeka Wogu was, however, optimistic that the striking lecturers would call off the strike. He told State House correspondents that progress was made at the meeting.
Mr. Wogu said, “We made progress, the President of ASUU told you that they are going back with a message from the Federal Government back to their members and the message is full of high expectations and hope.”
On whether the strike would be called off, he said: “That is why the message is full of high expectations and hope. So our prayers is that they come back with positive outcome. They might not even come back to meet us, they might take decisions there that will meet your expectations.”
“Nigerians should be patient for ASUU to finish their meetings and come out with a message to Nigerians.”
When asked whether the Federal Government made a fresh offer to the striking lecturers, the Minister said,
“the offer we made are the offer they are taking in line with the 2009 agreement. The issues that led to the strike are issues contained in the 2009 agreement and we did not go beyond the agreement.”