The Office of the Vice President denied media reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been assigned to head the dialogue between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had on Wednesday during the post-Federal Executive Council briefing told journalists at the State House that Osinbajo had taken over some aspects of the negotiations with the striking lecturers.
However, a statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande on Friday said “News reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is now leading Federal Government negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU is inaccurate”.
At the briefing Ngige had stated: “At council today (Wednesday), the Vice President has taken over some of the aspects of the negotiations and discussions.
“So, we are continuing the meeting in his office and when we finish meeting, we will get back to ASUU for another round of meeting and we are hopeful that we will be able to go to an appreciable extent to solve some of the outstanding issues that is preventing them from going back to work.”
Akande however said Media reports seemed to have “misrepresented what Labor & Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige meant when he spoke with reporters about the negotiations after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
“The Vice President had a discussion after FEC with both the Labour Minister and Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu around the issues, but has not taken over the negotiations as widely reported. Both Ministers will continue to lead the FG- ASUU talks.
“The Federal Government continues to diligently pursue a prompt resolution of this dispute and is confident the matter would be resolved” he added.
The lecturers downed tools for over two weeks now after they unanimously voted “yes” in a referendum called to ascertain whether to resume the strike they suspended last January.
The Academic Union, on August 13, began a nationwide strike over failure of the government to implement an agreement it reached with the union in 2009. They had alleged that the Federal Government did not implement the Memorandum of Understanding both sides signed in 2013.
ASUU, in a statement on Tuesday, said it would call off its strike after receiving a positive response to its demands from the Federal Government. But on Tuesday, it boycotted a scheduled meeting with the government.