From Obinna Odogwu, Awka

About nine-month-old strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would, hopefully, be called off before the end of this year, to allow for the resumption of academic activities in Nigerian universities in January.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who made the disclosure, said the Federal Government has met 98 percent of the demands made by ASUU, remaining two percent which he described as promissory notes.

The minister disclosed that the federal government and ASUU leadership would be meeting today to finalise talks on the remaining issues being discussed.

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Ngige stated these in his Alor country home while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after flagging off a three-day free medical outreach sponsored by him in the community.

“We have met about 98 percent of the request of ASUU. Some five to two percent is what you can call promissory notes. So, I am very hopeful that by midnight today, there are some works we are supposed to get on to do. They also have some works they are supposed to do on their own side with their people.

“Tomorrow, we will meet in the afternoon and we will compare notes. I believe that we might have come to the end of the strike when we meet tomorrow.

Asked when the students would return to school, he said: “Well, 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 now 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.”