FG/ASUU faceoff: Reps move to halt impending ASUU strike

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FG/ASUU faceoff: Reps move to halt impending ASUU strike

The House of Representatives on Tuesday moved to avert the impending strike action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities over the Federal Government’s failure to implement the agreement it signed with the union leading to the suspension of its strike action in December.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila invited the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education and the President of ASUU to a meeting in his office to discuss how to resolve the issues surrounding government failure to implement the agreement.

The invitation to the Ministers followed the disclosure that the Federal Ministry of Finance had consistently said that the money for the implementation of the agreement was available, but with the CBN, yet its disbursement had not commenced 11 months after the agreement was signed.

While adopting a motion of urgent public importance on the need to prevent the impending strike by the lecturers, the House said the government must urgently take all necessary measures to open a realistic negotiation with ASUU to stop the strike and implement the signed agreement in the interest of our students, their parents, the education sector and the Country.

Moving the motion, Rep. Julius Ihonvbare informed the House that “once again, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria is threatening to proceed on another industrial action on a matter that has been on the front burner for so long, which is the implementation of negotiated and signed agreements with the Federal Government.”

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He said the Federal Government had not been quite forthcoming, neither had it attached any consistent seriousness to the urgent need to reposition and refocus the education sector in line with our developmental objectives.

Ihonvbare said it was embarrassing that the Federal Government had, since, the last strike was called off in December 2020 continued to pass the buck, make excuses and engage in diversions and distractions rather than meet the terms of agreement it signed with the Union.

Leading the debate, Prof Ihonvbare said the House must do everything possible to stop the impending strike action by university teachers by impressing it in the government to honour its agreement with them.

READ ALSO: Students jittery over impending ASUU strike

He said the union was not asking anything new from the government but the implementation of the agreement they signed which led to the suspension of the strike action they embarked upon last year which halted academic activities in the universities.

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House Deputy Chief Whip, Rep. Nkiruka Onyejeocha expressed disappointment over the delay in implementing the agreement signed between the government and the university workers, saying what is going on was very disheartening.

She said children in some parts of the country were currently out of school because of insecurity while the government wants to shut down universities due to its inability to implement the agreement, saying the House should not allow the University Lecturer to go on strike again.

Contributing to the motion, Rep. Ossai Nicholas Ossai described as sacrosanct any agreement entered into by the government saying it was a trust which is a very important key in good governance.

He decried the fact that students in institutions of higher learning today were training without the needed facilities, saying “we placed the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) on first-line charge. It has reached a situation where we higher education on a first-line charge.

On his part, House Chief Whip, Rep. Tahir Mongunu said there was no need for the lawmakers to lament about the deplorable state of education in the country because all issues raised bother on funding.

He said the constitution of the country has given the lawmakers the power of appropriation, pointing out that since the National Assembly was currently considering the 2022 budget, they should use the opportunity offered to address the challenge by imputing money in the budget to address the demand by the lecturers.

Rep. Nkem Uzoma Abonta wondered whether teachers in Nigeria has committed any particular offence that issues concerning them are always treated with levity by the government.

He said “there is a saying that if you want to kill any nation, you first destroy its education. That is what is going on right now. Only private schools are thriving in this country because of government policies.




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