President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to engage in further consultations with relevant stakeholders towards ending the strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Buhari spoke on Friday when he met with the committee of pro-chancellors of federal universities, at the state house in Abuja.

“I will make further consultations, and I’ll get back to you,” Buhari said.

According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, the pro-chancellors were led to the meeting by Nimi Briggs, chairman of the ASUU/federal government negotiation team.

Briggs was quoted as saying they came to meet with Buhari in his capacity “as president and commander-in-chief, as the father of the nation, and as a visitor to the federal universities”.

He added that despite the impact of the months of industrial action, “the future of the university system in the country is good”.

He cited the recent listing of the University of Ibadan among the first 1,000 universities in the world as “a development occurring for the first time”.

Briggs also commended the federal government for concessions already made to the striking lecturers, including the offer to raise salaries by 23.5 percent across the board, and 35 percent for professors.

He, however, asked for “further inching up of the salary, given the economic situation of the country”.

The pro-chancellors also asked for a reconsideration of the ‘no work, no pay’ stance of the federal government.

They promised that lecturers would make up for time lost as soon as an amicable situation is reached, and schools are reopened.

On his part, Goodluck Opiah, minister of state for education, said all the concessions made by the federal government were to ensure that “the industrial action comes to an end, but ASUU has remained adamant”.

On Thursday, ASUU said it is ready to suspend the ongoing strike if the federal government shows a willingness to accept “its minimum demands”.

[The Cable]