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JUST IN: Reps summon Finance, Education ministers after ASUU threatens new industrial action

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As a measure to prevent another round of industrial actions in varsities across Nigeria, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has summoned the Minister of Finance/Budget/National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and his Education counterpart, Adamu Adamu, after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) threatened to embark on strike in another three weeks.

Gbajabiamila has also summoned the ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osedeke, to get him to speak on the challenges affecting his members across the country from performing effectively and why they have chosen strike as the preferred medium to get the apex government attention.

The speaker on Tuesday summoned the President’s aides and the lecturers’ representatives, to address the issues that had brought differences among the stakeholders’ piloting the affairs at varsities.

Through a statement released on its official social media handle, he disclosed that the emergency meeting would hold on Thursday, November 18, to discuss the issues and come up with solutions that can help prevent the breakdown of academic activities at the tertiary institutions.

The summon came barely 24 hours after ASUU threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to pay all outstanding allowances and fulfill promises earlier made to the lecturers in another three weeks.

ASUU said that the three weeks grace was given to the Apex Government to resolve all lingering issues affecting the payments of their members’ allowances and to implement the memorandum of action signed with them prior to the suspension of the last strike.

Addressing pressmen after the meeting, the ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, stated that the union would ground the varsities should the central government fail to fulfill its own part of the agreement, saying we have done our own part but it is unfortunate that the government has not done its own side.

He stated that the agreements reached with the apex government were not hard to meet by the government but that the political administrators have often refused to ensure due diligence on wages of tertiary institution staff.

READ ALSO: ASUU threatens to go on new industrial action over unpaid allowances

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Osodeke noted that to silence the lecturers, the government had been paying haphazardly to bypass all aspects of the agreements reached earlier.

The ASUU president argued that it was not their wish that they embark on strike often but the strike was the best option that has gotten the attention of political officeholders across the country.

According to him, if the government allocates the right funds and disburses them as done for other sectors, the Nigerian education system particularly tertiary education will be the best across Africa.

The ASUU president added that many foreign lecturers would have been queuing to lecture in any of the Nigerian varsities rather than Nigerians leaving the country for foreign institutions.

Osodeke stressed that due to underfunding of the schools, the quality of learning has been gravely affected and that it was already having an impact on society.

He noted that the lack of structural engineers that could build better structures and prevent collapse building was due to the actions of the political administrators.

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