The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja inaugurated a 14-man committee to re-negotiate the 2009 FGN/ University Based Staff Unions Agreement.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who performed the inauguration, said it was a demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to fulfilling its promises.

He said that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) recently embarked on a one week warning strike over the Federal Government’s failure to meet the terms of the 2009 agreement.

Adamu said that the team for the re-negotiation with the polytechnics and colleges of education would be constituted as soon as their respective governing councils were put in place.

“The inauguration of the re-negotiation team is significant as it confirms to the unions that government is committed to keeping its own side of the promise.

“The government wants to ensure that an environment that is conducive for teaching, learning, research and community service is engendered through lasting industrial harmony in all our tertiary institutions.

“Today’s inauguration kick-starts our drive for re-negotiation across the three segments of the tertiary education sub-sector – universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, starting with universities,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the Federal Government does not consider the unions as enemies or even opponents.

He said that ASUU, Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and others were all patriotic because of their selfless struggle.

Adamu said that the unions were made up of people genuinely concerned about education because what they were struggling for was not for their personal glory or gain.

In his response, the Chairman of the committee, Dr Wale Babalakin, (SAN) thanked the minister for finding them worthy of such task.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said that conducive environment in the tertiary institutions was the bedrock for development of a nation’s intelligentsia.

“A nation’s development can be seriously enhanced by the active participation of the intelligentsia in the pursuit of the country’s developmental goals.

“We want to also assure you that we intend to rise even beyond your expectations for the furtherance of tertiary education in Nigeria.

“This task should not be underestimated but with the commitment of all, we will provide a very serious enhancement for education in Nigeria,’’ he said.

In a remark, ASUU Chairman Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said he looked forward to a fruitful negotiation that would solve the problems confronting the nation’s tertiary institutions.