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ASUU strike worsens as FG insists on re-negotiating 2009 agreement

Any hope of an early resolution of the crisis between university lecturers and the federal government dimmed on Tuesday as the government hinted that it could not implement the agreement it had with the lecturers in 2009.

The Federal Government said it is re-negotiating the 2009 Agreement it reached with the lecturers- members of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU- with a view to successfully implementing it.
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The Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday after briefing the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on his stewardship in the last two years, defended the government's position.

Mr. Wogu said the Agreement predated the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Jonathan was the vice president in 2009 when the government, then headed by President Umaru Yar'Adua, negotiated the agreement with the lecturers.

Mr. Wogu said there were some areas of the Agreement that needed to be renegotiated if it was to be satisfactorily implemented.

When asked categorically if his statements meant the government would not implement the agreement as it is, the minister claimed the contrary.

He refused to categorically state that the agreement was impracticable, saying its Terms of Reference "created problems." He added that it was the reason why government requested that the parties that signed the document looked at it again. He also refused to disclose the part of the agreement the government would not implement.

The minister disclosed that already there was a government team headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, which had series of discussion with the union, insisting that "the right thing to do is to come back to the table."

He also said that the National Assembly had joined in the discussion with ASUU, adding that government could only make headway on the issue if it had the full picture of all that was involved before the Agreement was drafted and signed.

"We have made offer to ASUU. It is as complex as presented. Negotiation is ongoing. National Assembly is equally involved. We believe they will soon call off the strike. I personally and passionately appeal to them to call off the strike.


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