Fed Govt, union to hold ‘crucial’ meeting tomorrow
•We’re not aware of meetings, says Ogunyemi
The House of Representatives resolved on Tuesday to intervene in the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.
The House leadership will meet today with leaders of the university teachers as well as the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, and the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.
The resolution followed a motion, titled: “Urgent Public Importance and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Strike”, by Dachung Bagos.
Moving the motion, Bagos said: “The House notes that ASUU has, on March 9, 2020, after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Enugu, warned to go on a two-week strike.
“Aware that schools have just resumed. Concerned that the strike, if allowed to take full effect, will cost a lot of students extra academic year.
“Also concerned that the continued yearly strike by ASUU is becoming a national embarrassment to the country.
“Worried that the continued strike has encouraged education tourism of Nigerians to other countries.”
The House leadership resolved to intervene in the face-off.
The lawmakers wondered why it took the Federal Government and ASUU so long to reach an agreement.
Supporting the motion, Wunmi Onanuga noted that the demands of the lecturers for their rights had lingered, adding: “They don’t have to be begging for what is theirs.”
Rimande Shawulu recalled that a few years ago, Nigerians reportedly spent N5 billion on education in Ghana and £300 million in the United Kingdom (UK), making Nigeria’s education so brittle.
Abbas Tajudden, Marian Onuoha, Obina Chidoka and Ossai Nicholas also supported the motion.
Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu sought an amendment to the motion to include the warring factions.
The House resolved that its leadership should meet with Adamu, Ngige and ASUU President Prof Biodun Ogunyemi on the matter.
Also, the Federal Government has invited ASUU leadership to a crucial meeting tomorrow to resolve some of the issues raised by the striking lecturers.
The union’s leadership, on Monday, declared a two–week warning strike at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who addressed reporters at the end of the meeting, said the action was meant to compel the Federal Government to implement the agreements and resolutions in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) both parties reportedly discussed in the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement, the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoU).
ASUU said none of the agreements had been implemented.
The Special Adviser (SA) on Media to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, confirmed the Thursday meeting with Ngige in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
But Ogunyemi said he was not aware of any notice of meeting, when our reporter contacted him.
The ASUU president said the union was yet to receive any official invitation from either the Federal Government or the House of Representatives to a meeting today or tomorrow.
He said: “We have not seen any letter. All of these things they are saying in the media we do not have the letter.”
The minister urged the striking university lecturers to reconsider their decision in the interest of the country.
“…Senator Ngige has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to reconsider its decision on the on-going strike in the interest of the nation.
“The union has been invited to a crucial meeting for Thursday, March 12, 2020.
“Also invited to the meeting, scheduled to hold at the Conference Room of the Minister of Labour and Employment, are the officials of the Ministries of Education and Finance as well as those of the National University Commission (NUC),” the statement said.
It was gathered that Adamu met on Monday with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, hours after ASUU leaders declared the warning strike.
A source said: “The minister met his counterpart in the Finance Ministry over ASUU and subsequently briefed Mr. President on their conversations.”