The Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, is optimistic that the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities will not embark on any industrial action soon despite threats by the union to do so.
Shekarau said this on Monday during an impact assessment tour of the Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
The university teachers have been threatening an indefinite strike following allegation of non-implementation of agreement reached between ASUU and the Federal Government.
Shekarau said there was no problem between the Federal Government and ASUU that could warrant another round of industrial action. He however said there had been communication gap between the union and the government.
“We will continue to apply more and more dialogue to bridge the communication gap between the Federal Government and the ASUU to ensure that there is peace,” Shekarau said.
According to him, the issue of funding, which hitherto had been a major bone of contention between the parties, has been resolved.
He added, “I am sure that any ASUU member that sees what is going on in the tertiary institutions will be surprised. I tell you, some of the institutions, their money is waiting for them and allocations are being made in the last couple of weeks.
“They are just waiting for due process to be followed for them to access the funds. So, it is not the problem of need, the need has to be accessed. Government is providing the funds and we are releasing the funds gradually.
“ASSU is part of the implementation committee. So, ASUU is following the picture of what is going on and I am sure with that, the days of strike will be over.”
Shekarau, who said that he was impressed with the level of work at the Federal University, Otuoke, said that the government had invested so much in universities across the country through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the Special Presidential Intervention.
He also revealed that the nine newly-established federal universities across the country would soon get their governing councils in order to help the schools’ management move the institutions forward.
Vice Chancellor, FUO, Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, who conducted the minister and his entourage round the university, said the institution now had a total of 1,500 students.
Aluko said the institution had challenges in getting more students, staff and curricula.