The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Monday expressed optimism that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would accept the Federal Government’s new offer and end their eight-month-old industrial action.
The minister, who featured on a programme on Arise TV, urged the union to hasten consultations with its members in order to return to the negotiation table before Friday.
He said: “I feel that even this offer is one of the best they have ever gotten since I started conciliation with them. I do not see why they should not accept it. Everything they asked for has been granted. I don’t think they should say the offer is not good.
“But I told them before they left that asking the nation and the students to wait from Friday to Friday is unfair, they should come back to us by Tuesday. They have done that before when we negotiated with the Senate President. The offer was made on a Thursday and they came back to us on a Tuesday.
“So, that’s what I expect them to do this time around. If they do so, the nation will appreciate them and regard them as patriotic citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I expect them to get back to me much earlier than Friday.”
The federal government had last Friday agreed to exempt ASUU members from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The government also offered to increase the Earned Allowances of university staff from N30 billion to N35billion and the Revitalisation Fund from N20billion to N25billion.