Speaker Begs Lecturers To Suspend Strike
Gloria Essien, Abuja
The Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to shift grounds in its strike action in the interest of Nigerian children.
Femi Gbajabiamila made the appeal at a meeting with the leadership of ASUU, in Abuja.
The Speaker said that the meeting was not to pass blame or find out who was right or wrong but to find short-term and long-term solutions to the ongoing strike action.
He said; “We are not here to re-hatch the issues. I believe everyone in Nigeria knows the issues. Most people are with ASUU, everyone is sympathetic to you. It’s not about emotions today. It’s about a solution. We are here to shift ground both ASUU and the government.”
Gbajabiamila said that the only issue on the ground was to ensure that students return to school.
He said that “the National Assembly as an independent arm of government was in a position to come to a resolution and take significant steps to end the crisis.”
According to him, the intentions of ASUU leadership were noble but should not be over-flogged, adding that the National embarrassment must stop.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Goodluck Opiah, said that the strike action that started in February 2022, has affected all the stakeholders in the sector.
Opiah said that the ministry appreciates the Speaker for his intention.
He said; “This thought is not out of place at all. It will rather add to what the executive has been doing.”
The President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osemeke, said that in the seven months of the strike action, the ministry of education has never called ASUU for any formal meeting.
He said that it was only the ministry of Labour that has held two meetings with the union.
He said that “Nigeria sees strikes as a problem, not an issue.
“One of the problems in this country is that we look at symptoms as problems. In other climes when people go on strike, you don’t punish the people.”
He added that stopping the striking lecturers’ salaries and taking ASUU to court was wrong.
The meeting is still ongoing as both parties went into a closed-door session.