THE Federal Government yesterday summoned leaders of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and other stakeholders to a crucial meeting to find a common ground. Also to attend the meeting the government called through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige are officials of the Ministries of Education and Finance, as well as that of the National Universities Commission, NUC. This came as the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to intervene to stop the ongoing strike by ASUU over Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, among others. A statement by the Special Adviser, Media, to the Minister, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said the government appealed to ASUU to reconsider its decision on the on-going strike in the interest of the nation.
The statement read: “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 that of the National Universities Commission, NUC.” Similarly, the House of Representatives has resolved to intervene in the disagreement between the Federal Government and ASUU. The House of Representatives’ resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance brought by Dachung Bagos (Plateau-PDP). Moving the motion, he noted that the strike, if allowed to take full effect, could lead to an extra academic session for students who would eventually be victims. He called on the House to note that on March 9, 2020 after its National Executive Council meeting held in Enugu, ASUU warned that it would go on a two-week strike.
“The House is aware that schools have just resumed for academic session, and if the strike is allowed to take full effect it will cost a lot for the students financially and otherwise, which might lead to additional year,’’ he said. Noting that strikes by ASUU were becoming a national embarrassment, Bagos regretted the fact that incessant strikes by the union had continued to encourage education tourism of Nigerians to other countries. Meanwhile, for the first time in 20 years, the examinations of students of the University of Ilorin were yesterday disrupted as the institution’s lecturers joined the nationwide two weeks warning strike directed by ASUU.
The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ilorin branch, Professor Moyosore Ajao, told journalists that the development was the outcome of the congress of the lecturers held at the main auditorium of the university yesterday. Unlike the past 20 years when examinations went unhindered, the students were seen yesterday preparing to leave the campus and return after two weeks, with the hope that their lecturers would return to complete their examinations. A student in the Faculty of Law who craved anonymity, was shocked over the development, saying he never believed the university would ever join ASUU strike at anytime. “It’s unfortunate that what made UNILORIN special had been compromised, he said.’’ Professor Ajao, however, warned that any lecturer found conducting examinations for the students would be sanctioned, insisting that the strike was total for two weeks when the leadership would review it.
He said:‘’The strike is total in University of Ilorin, we are joining the strike and our members are excited because nobody has the right to take our salary for granted. ‘’Nothing lasts forever, we are in a new dawn, whatever has a beginning must have an end. It’s an irony of life that I will lead strike in UNILORIN after 20 years, and I have no regret about that. “They have the right to threaten us that they are not going to pay our salaries, that they are going to get all of us sacked so that they will bring foreigners as lecturers.’’ In Ondo State, there was partial compiance by universities in the state, as academic activities were on at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, but paralysed at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, AAUA. Speaking with Vanguard, the Chairman of ASUU, FUTA chapter, Dr. Olayinka Awopetu, said he just came back from the NEC meeting where the decision to go on strike was taken.
Awopetu said it was necessary for him to brief the ASUU members before embarking on strike and said FUTA would, however, join the strike tomorrow. “The way ASUU works, when the President declare strike and every branch chairman is expected to go back to their branches and declare a commencement of the strike in that branch but the date is the date announced by the President. “It is given that no matter where you’re in the country, it can’t make you more than three days before you get to your base, we came back from Enugu around 4pm on Monday and we are going to have exco meeting today (Tuesday) and we are calling the congress tomorrow. (Wednesday.) The strike will commence in FUTA tomorrow. The people you see in class now is because they have not heard from the chairman but read about it from the pages of newspapers and social media.
“The members took a resolution to the NEC that there must be an action and I can assure you that the level of compliance will be 100 percent. ASUU in FUTA is known for that. ”It is going to be two weeks of definite, comprehensive warning strike and after the two weeks, situation will be evaluated and decisions will be taken. Decisions will be taken at the level of NEC.” Also, there was total compliance by ASUU members at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN. Though, students were seen on campus, no lecture took place, this is even as the task force set up by the ASUU, UNN branch were seen moving from place to place to ensure total compliance of members.