6:13 AM May 22, 2022

Implement agreement signed with ASUU, Reps tell FG

The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to implement the agreement it reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, failure of which has led to the ongoing strike by the university lecturers.

At the plenary on Tuesday, the House specifically urged the Ministry of Labour, Employment & Productivity and ASUU to “adhere to the clauses and provisions of the previous Memorandum of Understanding and the Memorandum of Action in the interest of Nigerian students and education sector in Nigeria and call off the warning strike.”

The House also mandated its Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity and Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to interface with the Ministries of Labour, Employment and Productivity; Education; Civil Society Organisations; Nigeria Inter-Religious Council and ASUU to “address the outstanding issues that are precipitating the current warning strike by members of ASUU.”

These resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by a member of the House, Dozie Nwankwo, titled ‘Urgent Need to Address the Frequent Strike Actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.’

Nwankwo recalled the meetings by the relevant stakeholders, which led to the call-off of the ASUU strike that lasted nine months – from March to December 2020.

The lawmaker decried the “individual and corporate pains the strike action inflicted on Nigerian students, parents and the education sector, to the extent that it disrupted the academic calendar and impacted negatively on the teaching staff, their families and the depreciating standards of Nigeria’s public universities.”

He noted the “benefits and advantages” of the demands of ASUU on the overall interests of Nigeria’s public institutions and the well-being of the personnel, which includes funding for the revitalisation of public universities and signing and implementation of the renegotiated 2009 FGN- ASUU Agreement, amongst others.

Nwankwo said, “The House is disturbed that shortly after the last horrendous experience by Nigerians, a one-month warning strike action by members of ASUU has commenced with effect from February 14, 2022, despite all previous efforts to resolve the contending issues. Such efforts include that of the Speaker, House of Representatives (Femi Gbajabiamila) and other stakeholders, which included members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council.

“The House is further disturbed that the consequences of the strike action are embarrassingly becoming too frequent and with consequences too damning to the education sector, as one-month strike action is too much a disruption to an academic calendar and too much time for an ‘idle man’ to cause havoc, especially in the present university environment which is infested with cult activities and other social vices.

“The House is concerned that in the present circumstances, claims and counterclaims by both ASUU members and the government representatives are not helping the situation, because the picture created is not clear and both Nigerians and foreigners are left to interpret it differently, regrettably tilting towards perceived/or deliberate intention to frustrate the genuine spirit of reconciliation and tertiary education in Nigeria widely seen as education for the ordinary Nigerian.

“The House is worried that major parts of the grounds of dispute border on issues like the injection of revitalisation funds, payment of earned academic allowance and the likes that are obtainable in other African countries like Ghana and South Africa.

“The House is also worried that Nigeria is losing revenue through Nigerian students who school abroad, whereas Nigerian universities can be raised to the standards of the best universities in Africa and other parts of the world.”

The lawmaker stated that all hands must be on deck to avert the strike and to allow public universities to continue with their programmes undisrupted and to resolve such issues dispassionately.

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