End lingering ASUU strike now, Saraki tells Buhari

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Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki
Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the salient issues raised by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) with a view to ending the over two-month old strike embarked upon by the public university lecturers.

This is coming as the federal government has said it will meet with the leadership of the union today in continuation of efforts to resolve the ongoing strike by the lecturers.

Saraki, in a statement issued Wednesday by his Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the federal government must immediately work to address the demands of the university lecturers.

According to him, the issue goes beyond negotiations as it is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general election.

He therefore, called on the federal government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments.

“On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the federal government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue,” Saraki stated.

He emphasised the need for Nigeria’s universities to be re-opened without further delay, highlighting the fact that the education of Nigeria’s young people is being negatively affected by the stance of the government and is also disenfranchising the youths, many of whom are registered to vote in their universities — but are now stuck in their homes.

According to him, “we cannot continue this system whereby our universities will be frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of our young people — and creating negative bottlenecks that place unnecessary stress on our universities.

“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.

“In November 2016, the Senate intervened in the ASUU strike and met with the officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour, Employment and Productivity and the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

“At that meeting, which was attended by the Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwuka and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity in the National Assembly, we agreed that the federal government should work to implement the agreement that it reached with ASUU in 2009, and subsequently, we set up a sub-committee to lease with both ASUU and the federal government on this issue”, the Senate President explained.

Meanwhile, the federal government has said it will meet with the leadership of the union today in continuation of efforts to resolve the ongoing strike by the lecturers.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said this yesterday in Abuja, in a statement by Deputy Director, Press in the ministry, Mrs Iliya Rhoda.

“This is in furtherance to efforts at resolving the on-going industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“The conciliatory meeting with the executive of ASUU is scheduled to hold Thursday, February 7,” he said.

The union commenced strike on November 5, 2018, to press home its demands.

The lecturers are demanding for the implementation of agreement entered into by the government with the union.

The major demands of the union include the university revatilisation fund and earned allowances.

During the last meeting between the federal government and ASUU, both parties agreed that all grey areas have been trashed out and the union will only relay the information to its members and adjourned for a new meeting on February 7

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