BY Sunday Aborisade
A delegation of the Federal Government led by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, met behind closed doors with the leadership of the Senate on Tuesday to appraise the University Transparency Account Systems payment platform developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The meeting, chaired by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also had in attendance, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the ASUU leadership led by the President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.
Ngige had before the commencement of the meeting, said the parley was at the instance of the Senate President, as part of efforts to resolve the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and ASUU.
Addressing journalists after about a three-hour closed session on the issue on Tuesday, Ngige said, “ASUU has demonstrated to us, how the UTAS they developed could work but the demonstration will continue.
“We will involve other government agencies who would also come and assess it. Discussions on it are not foreclosed yet.
“UTAS is homegrown software. It is what we call local content that Mr President is encouraging. It will be considered by the government,” Ngige added.
ASUU had rejected the IPPIS as it embarked on indefinite strike on February.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, told the meeting that the current impasse between ASUU and the Federal Government was an ill-wind that would not do any of the two parties any good.
The Senate President asked the two parties to find a middle ground to resolve their differences.
“It has to be a win-win situation,” Lawan said.
Tuesday’s meeting with the Federal Government delegation was after a similar dialogue with ASUU by the Senate leadership on Monday.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has scheduled a meeting with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities for Wednesday (today) over the current rift between the Federal Government and the university lecturers.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, made the announcement at the plenary on Tuesday, asking Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, and members of the committee to be in attendance.
Gbajabiamila said, “This is for the leadership and the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, Committee on Tertiary Education, and any member of that committee that wants to be in attendance. There will be a meeting with ASUU in my office tomorrow at 1:30pm.”