ASUU Strike May End in Two Days – Education Minister
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, yesterday assured Nigerians that the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may end in two days.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian yesterday in Abuja, the minister noted that the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari has a policy of engaging unions, including ASUU.
Adamu also held a closed-door meeting with the leader of the Federal Government Renegotiation Team, Dr. B. O Babalakin (SAN). The minister had, in January, inaugurated the 16-member team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement.
The committee, headed by Babalakin, was given the mandate to dialogue with ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Associated and Allied Institutions (NASU) to ensure sustainable peace and industrial harmony in tertiary institutions.
According to him, the Federal Government is doing all it can to address the frequent closure of universities in the country. “I hope and believe that this would be a one or two days strike. We have a policy of engaging the unions, including ASUU and I think now we are very serious. This is the first time in two years that ASUU is declaring a strike,” Adamu said.
Meanwhile, ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter has inaugurated a strike monitoring committee to ensure an effective prosecution of the industrial action.
The committee headed by Prof. Gbenga Olujide is empowered to ensure that no member of the union engages in any sabotage or does anything that can jeopardise the collective interests of the union while the strike lasts.
Making the announcement at a well-attended congress of the union, ASUU chairman at UI, Dr. Deji Omole stated that the university teachers were pushed to the wall before taking the painful decision to embark on the strike after giving government sufficient time to attend to their demands without positive results.
According to Omole, all examinations in the university as well as all other academic activities including the delivery of inaugural lectures remain suspended.
Omole told the congress that the Federal Government and the ruling class were waging war against the poor masses by deliberately under-funding public universities where their future lies.
According to Omole, it is sad that after a six-month strike in 2013, only N200billion has been released and that till date the Federal Government is owing federal universities N880billion intervention fund as well as N128billion earned academic allowances.
He said that rather than funding existing universities, the Federal Government was more interested in turning the establishment of public universities to constituency projects, adding that the Buhari-led government had been dealing with ASUU deceitfully.
According to Omole, there is no way Nigerian universities can compete with others that are well-funded and equipped with modern facilities as well as have a well-motivated and well-paid workforce.
“How can we say change begins with me when those leading us are not leading by examples, or what can we say when the daughter of the president graduated abroad and that of the Senate president too? Even the Goodluck Jonathan administration did better in funds allocated to education.
“This APC government has allocated six per cent to all cadres of education from the primary to tertiary education level. That explains why Nigeria is not developing, since no nation can ever grow more than the quality of education of that country. We are prepared to suffer to secure the future of our children. All of us will suffer during this strike but we believe that nothing good comes easily,” he said.
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