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ASUU will call off strike soon, says Ngige

The Federal Government has given the assurance its face-off with university-based unions will soon be resolved and academic activities resume in earnest.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, who gave the assurance on Wednesday, also denied planning different payment structure for all the trade unions in tertiary institutions.

The government has summoned all the relevant agencies, including the National Information Development Agency (NITDA) to brief it on the success so far recording in resolving the contentious issues that led to the ongoing strike by the four university-based unions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) insisted on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) it created, claiming the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was short-changing its members.

However, the Federal Government, in March, said UTAS had failed three integrity tests.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) had also come forward with the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) as their own payment platform.

While responding to questions from State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ngige assured that efforts were on to lay the prolonged universities’ industrial actions to rest.

According to Ngige, government was interested in seeing the students going back to school.

He said the meeting on Thursday is expected to look at the progress report by the relevant bodies handling the crisis including NITDA on how far it has gone with the integrity test on the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS which was proposed as an alternative platform by ASUU and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System, U3PS, proposed by SSANU and NASU.

Ngige said he was waiting for the report of the Tripartite Plus Committee comprising the Ministry of Education, the Chief of Staff, Salaries and Wages Income Commission, the National University Commission, NUC as well as the striking unions.

He said contrary to insinuations that the government was not engaging with ASUU, there have been meetings between all parties with the next one coming up on Thursday.

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