When the airline operators said they were going to stop the flights, the Senate and House of Representatives quickly stepped in. This is because they are affected; they quickly rushed in and addressed the problem, why would they not resolve that of the education sector that is affecting the children of the poor and the ordinary people
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said there is no going back on its decision to continue with its ongoing strike following Federal Government’s failure to honour the 2009 agreement.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osedeke, said this in an interview on Wednesday in Abuja.
Osedeke said the union took the ‘difficult decision’ after exhausting all avenues available to amicably settle the matter with the Federal Government.
“Let me give you an example, because this is where we are getting it wrong, when the airline operators said they were going to stop the flights, the Senate and House of Representatives quickly stepped in.
“This is because they are affected; they quickly rushed in and addressed the problem, why would they not resolve that of the education sector that is affecting the children of the poor and the ordinary people.
“If the government is willing to resolve the issues affecting the Nigerians, then there would be no need to go on strike.
‘“The problem is the will of government to resolve issues,” he said.
Recall that ASUU on Monday extended its roll-over strike which started on February 14 by another 12 weeks.
The striking lecturers’ demands include, funding of the revitalisation of public universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
Osedeke said that none of these demands had been met by the Federal Government.
“All the issues that made us to go on strike are still there; that is the revitalisation fund, that is putting more money into universities and revitalising the infrastructure in the universities.
“There is also the issue of our mode of payments in the universities. There is no university in the world where lecturers are paid salaries from the Accountant General’s Office.
“We have challenged them to provide one, if universities are universal body, why are they doing things differently.
“We talk of negotiation of agreement, proliferation of universities, among others, so there are lots of issues that they have not resolved,” he told said.
The ASUU president also said that government had also refused to accept UTAS that he said had been tested and passed with a scored 99.3 per cent.
Osedeke urged the Federal Government to do the needful in order for students to return to school.
The Senate had on Tuesday promised to intervene and resolve the disagreement between the federal government and ASUU for early resumption of academic activities in the ivory towers.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan made the pledge during a meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS led by its President, Asefon Sunday Adedayo at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
The meeting between the Senate President and the leadership of NANS was facilitated by Bishop Dr Sunday Onuoha with a view to discourage Nigerian students from embarking on protest that will vandalise public infrastructures.
The Senate President described the ASUU’s disagreement with the federal government as a serious issue that is having negative impacts on the future of Nigerian students and that of the development of the country in general.
He noted that the bone of contention is the 2009 agreement signed with ASUU by previous administration adding that it has now dawned on every party involved that the 2009 agreement is no longer tenable.
“For me the 2009 agreement was signed in error which the government should not have signed in the first place. This is because there is no resources to provide all the items on the agreement.
“I can assure you that we will bring ASUU and FG back to negotiation table in the interest of the development of the country, because no nation can develop meaningfully and sustainably without educating her citizens.
“As a nation, we know that we have to spend and spend to educate our citizens and we are not going to shy away from this fact”.
I can assure you, you are in the right place and the Senate is not only going to bring ASUU and FG to negotiate, we are also going to participate in the negotiation until the whole issue is resolved,” Lawan said.
The Senate President also appealed to ASUU to call off the ongoing strike and have confidence in the Senate’s ability to resolve the disagreement amicably.
Senator Lawan also appealed to NANS leadership to prevail on other students nationwide to always follow the path of peace adding that there is no problem that it is not surmountable.
Earlier the NANS President, Asefon Sunday Adedayo expressed disappointment with the federal government for neglecting the education of Nigerian students.
He noted that government put priority on political activities at the detriment of students who are described as the future leaders.
He also vowed that Nigerian students will disrupt any political activities in the FCT unless the issue of ASUU strike is resolved and students back to school.
Asefon also lamented that a four year programme has been prolonged to eight years.