By Lawrence Olaoye
Supervisory Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday assured that the negotiation efforts between the government and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has reached an advance stage and that the ongoing strikes by the two bodies would soon come to an end.
Wike, who briefed newsmen after a close door meeting with the unions’ leaders and the House of Representatives committee on education chaired by Rep Aminu Suleiman, said negotiation has gone to an advanced stage and some technical aspects of the talks would be sorted out for the students to resume any moment from now.
He said, “The Salaries and Wages Commission wrote a letter and until those observations are cleared, you are likely not to proceed. Our discussion today is total and we have reached some agreements and we believe that sooner or later, you will hear good results.”
Asked to give details of the technicalities raised by the Commission, the minister said “Observation raised by the Commission are technical issues. They say they were not consulted before the CONTIS15 was being worked out and the ASUP is saying ‘no’, they were consulted.”
He however assured that they have resolved the matter and that the money for the settlement of the over N20 billion arrears of debt owed the polytechnic teachers may be presented to the National Assembly for approval as a supplementary budget.
Equally commenting on the progress made so far, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said the parties have made tremendous progress in their negotiations and expressed the optimism that the issue would be resolved very soon.
He said “ We had a robust discussion and we have also been told about some areas where we needed to polish but I want to assure you that we are making progress though we have not come to conclusion on the issue.”