The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Monday, said university students would resume in January 2021.
Ngige spoke in Alor, in the Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State during the inauguration of his medical outreach for the people of the area.
He said the Federal Government had met 98 per cent of the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, adding that the remaining two per cent demands holding the strike would be sorted during negotiation on Tuesday (today).
He expressed optimism that after the meeting, ASUU would call off their strike and students would commence studies in January.
“We have met about 98 per cent of the request of ASUU; the remaining two per cent is what you can call promissory notes. So, I am very hopeful that by midnight of Monday, there are some works we are supposed to get on to do. They also have some work they are supposed to do on their own side with their people.
“We will be meeting in the afternoon of Tuesday to compare notes. I believe that we might have come to the end of the strike after the meeting. It is a journey of a thousand miles which you will have to take one step first. Tomorrow, all things being equal, we will agree because we were disagreeing before.
“We disagree to agree and agree to disagree formerly. But tomorrow, I hope we will agree to agree. Once we do that, schools will open in January,” Ngige said.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with our correspondent on Monday said the union would conclude make its decision known on Wednesday.
He said, “I will address that matter on Wednesday. There is nothing I can say now. We are concluding our consultation by tomorrow (Tuesday). I have been telling all journalists that I won’t say anything until Wednesday. Whatever he (Ngige) says I’m not saying anything. We are reviewing the situation.”
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Ministry for Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said the Federal Government and the leadership of the ASUU would again meet on Tuesday, in continuation of the ongoing negotiations to end the strike which had paralysed academic activities at the public universities for the past nine months.
The two parties had met last Thursday for over five hours but the resolutions of the parley were not made public.
The Federal Government had during the November 27 meeting with the union pledged N40bn as the Earned Allowance and N30bn for the revitalisation of the university system bringing the total payment to N70bn.
It also promised to pay the arrears of salaries to the lecturers.
The union, in turn, pledged to present the offer to its organs and get back to the government on their decision.