By Faith Igbudu
Mixed reactions have followed yesterday’s two weeks ultimatum given by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to resolve the five months old Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
Buhari had given the directive to Adamu Tuesday after meeting with some ministers and heads of Federal Government agencies involved in the negotiations at the Presidential Villa.
The president also directed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige to hands off negotiations with the union.
Recall that ASUU had repeatedly accused Ngige of blackmail and being a stumbling block to the negotiations.
The Voice gathered that the Buhari led administration has agreed to pay enhanced salaries to the lecturers and it may release a quarter of the outstanding N1.3trillion revitalisation funds agreed by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is said that about N320billion revitalisation funds may soon be released to universities.
However, ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in a reaction said: “Two weeks ultimatum is too long to end ASUU strike. Anyway we are waiting for this committee to get the final nod of the Federal Government to sign off this agreement and commence implementation.
“However, the 100 percent pay rise proposal is not before us.
“If the government has this proposal, it knows the channels through which it will forward it to us and at that point, we will look at it and decide appropriately.”
While some persons see the move by the president as a smart move to avert the proposed strike action by critical stakeholders, others see light at the end of the tunnel expressing hope that the strike has reached its end.
In his reaction, Chairman ASUU- Benue State University, (BSU) Makurdi, Kwaghfan Tarnongu said: “The president gave similar directive before on the same issue yet nothing happened to call off the strike. I just hope now that he means business this time around, but fingers are all crossed.”
Also, Chairman ASUU, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi, Prof. Simon Ejembi, in his reaction to the ultimatum said: “I don’t think the federal government needs two weeks to resolve the ASUU issue. The issue is near completion already but if the president says that two weeks is the duration needed, we only hope for the best.”
Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students-Joint Campus Committee (NANS-JCC), Maxwell Faasema, in his view said: “The decisions taken yesterday to remove Ngige from the negotiation with the union and the two weeks ultimatum is long over due.”
“This decision would have been taken since to avoid spending this amount of time on strike. As it stands now, we the students don’t even know what to expect anymore. If we should be happy or not, the outcome will tell,” he added.