Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate’s effort to stop a one-week warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) fell through wednesday as a closed-door meeting held between the Upper Chamber, ASUU leadership, and officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour, Employment and Productivity was deadlocked.
At the meeting convened by Senate President Bukola Saraki and attended by the Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity in the National Assembly, the varsity dons vowed to continue with the warning strike.
ASUU had on Monday announced a one-week warning strike over the failure of the federal government to implement the agreement it reached with it in 2009.
But in a swift reaction, the Senate mandated Saraki to intervene in the matter with a view to stopping ASUU from proceeding on the strike.
However, at a press briefing jointly addressed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution and Tetfund, Jubril Barau, Anwuka and the ASUU leaders at the end of yesterday’s meeting, the stakeholders said the deliberation was fruitful, adding that a window for solution had been found.
“After the deliberation, we set up a sub-committee that would meet with the Minister of Finance and Minister of Budget and National Planning towards resolving the issues,” Barau said.
Also speaking, a participant at the meeting, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, said: “With the attention of the Minister of Finance and that of Budget and National Planning drawn to the matter, by next week Monday, we should have resolved it amicably and end it with warning strike.”
The National President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, commended Senate’s proactive intervention in the face-off between it and the federal government.
The agreement between ASUU and the federal government in 2009 included the constitution of a re-negotiation committee that would ensure that at least 26 per cent of Nigeria’s annual budget was allocated to education and half of that allocation given to universities.
They also agreed, among others, that the 2004 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Act, and the National University Commission (NUC) Act 2004 should be amended.