Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is now being appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday to lead the team discussing lingering issues with academic staff union of universities on behalf of federal Government. President Buhari made this announcement at the federal executive meeting in the presence of members of the federal executive council during its meeting yesterday.
Osinbajo, who immediately began meeting with the government’s team yesterday at the Presidential Villa, is expected to schedule another meeting with the leadership of ASUU.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige expressed the government’s regret over the prolonged strike which he said had paralyzed academic activities in the nation’s universities.
Ngige said: “The government sympathizes with the parents, even with the students who are supposed to be taking their degree exams and promotion exams now but have been forced by circumstances beyond their control to be at home.
“I have my child at home as we speak. So, government is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that we reach a conclusive agreement with ASUU so that they can go back to the classroom. This is the first national strike that this government is facing and we want to discuss.
“At Council today (yesterday), the vice president has taken over some aspects of the negotiation and discussion. So we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish, we will get back to ASUU with another round of meeting.
Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday received a standing ovation from members of the FEC. The president was attending the council meeting for the first time since he returned to Nigeria from London, United Kingdom (UK) after a medical follow-up in that country.
He returned to Nigeria on August 19 and has since been working from his official residence in the Presidential Villa.
The president cancelled last week’s FEC meeting but received the report of the presidential investigative panel on alleged corruption cases against the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke.
As the president stepped into the council chambers, venue of the meeting, the members clapped in excitement after which he invited the Minister of Communication, Shittu Adebayo, and Ngige to say the opening prayers.