Adamu Adamu, minister of education, says the one-month industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is “surprising”.
He said it is not the federal government’s fault if there has been no agreement after several negotiations between both parties.
The minister spoke on Wednesday while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Adamu said ASUU’s decision to embark on strike came abruptly amidst ongoing negotiations.
“ASUU, unfortunately, they have gone on strike and I am looking for them because all the issues are being addressed,” he said.
“The last thing that happened was that our committee looked at their demands but there are renegotiations going on. They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at.
“A committee is looking at it. Immediately it finishes, the government is meant to announce what it had accepted. Then suddenly, I heard them going on strike.”
On allegations from ASUU about his absence from meetings, he said: “ASUU will never say that. I always call the meeting myself. The meetings I didn’t attend were those that happened when I was in hospital in Germany.
“We want a peaceful resolution. The federal government is ready to meet them on all issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, then I think it’s not the fault of the government.
“There is a solution to this. The negotiations are the solution and that is why I have said that I am surprised that ASUU has gone on strike.”
Speaking on the time frame for reaching an agreement, the minister added: “I can’t give you time. I am ready to reach an agreement with ASUU now but since I’m not the only one, I can’t give you time but certainly, we are going to reach an agreement very soon.”