â€¢ Ngige: Strike to top FEC meeting today â€¢NANS gives govt 21 days to end strike
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has pulled out from the scheduled meeting with the federal government to resolve the ongoing strike that has paralysed academic activities in the nationâ€™s universities, until it gets a response for its counter offers.
The Deputy Director (Press) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Samuel Olowookere, had late last Monday announced that there would be a meeting with ASUU and relevant stakeholders to be coordinated byÂ the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
Others who were expected at the meeting were the Ministers of Education and Finance, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; the Chairman, National Income Salaries and Wages Commission, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba.
But the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement, said the union would suspend further meetings with the federal government until it receives a reply to their proposal detailing their new offer on the way out of the protracted industrial action.
Ogunyemi said last Thursday, the ASUU leadership met with officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour and Employment where it was agreed that the union should consult and â€œrevert to government.â€
He said following due consultations, the union had collated the views of their members on the offers from the government in dispute in the letter of August 16, 2017.
According to him, these views were submitted to the federal government vide their letter dated August 28, 2017.
According to him, â€œMembers of ASUU were forced to proceed on indefinite, comprehensive and total strike on August 13, 2017, following governmentâ€™s failure to implement issues on which understanding was reached during the suspended warning strike of November 2016.â€
While speaking with journalists on the latest development, Ngige said the ASUU issue would top the agenda of todayâ€™s Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He noted that the confusion arose because the meeting had already been scheduled before ASUU made their counter offers but assured Nigerians Â that it would be considered before a reconciliation meeting at a future date.
However, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) hasÂ given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to resolve the ASUU strike.
The NANS President,Â Chinoso Obasi, in a statement yesterday urgedÂ the federal government to use its planned meeting Â with ASUU â€œto engage in constructive engagement with a human face to resolve the lingering issues that led to the declaration of the strike to safe the education sector and the future of Nigerian students in the interest of the nation.â€
He said the 21-day ultimatum is to resolve the issues to enable students return to school.
The students said failure to resolve the industrial action would lead to a total shut of activities across nation by the students.
He decried the incessant and prolonged strike as one of factors responsible for the falling standard of education in Nigeria apart from the attendant untold hardship to the students and their parents and guardians.
According to the NANS President, Â â€œincessant strikes and stoppage of academic activities as a result of lack of agreements or lack of adherence and implementation of duly executed memorandum of agreements between the federal government and ASUU does not reflect and demonstrate commitment to the sustainable development of the nationâ€™s education sector and the development of the nationâ€™s human capital development.â€
Obasi stated that though the association had called for an emergency Senate meeting to deliberate on the strike and other issues of critical national importance and take a position on the way forward before the federal governmentâ€™s call for a meeting with ASUU, the Association will await the outcome of meeting to determine the next line of action.
He further called on the parties to demonstrate sensitivity and a great sense of patriotism in resolving the issues as the earliest convenience to save education in the nation and avert unfortunate developments associated with the idleness of young people.