By Naomi Sharang
Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Representing Kogi West, has appealed to the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to come “to a middle ground” in the disagreement between them.
Adeyemi while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, in Abuja, described the ongoing ASUU strike as most unwarranted given that universities had been off and on from ASUU strikes which has affected academic activities.
NAN reports that the union had embarked on a one-month nationwide warning strike on Feb.14 to press home its members’ demands
Adeyemi said that the two parties should reconcile for the sake of the Nigerian students.
“Most children of the elites are not schooling in Nigeria so for me I think ASUU should bend a bit and the Federal Government should bend a bit, there must be a compromise.
“I want government and ASUU to reconcile; I want them to sit down again. Nobody should take extreme position, extreme position because the role of ASUU is so crucial, critical to national development.
“We must also bear in mind that ASUU members deserve good condition of service but the good condition of service must always be within the available resources,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, said that the union deserved good condition of service to be able to teach well and to be able to have confidence in their professional calling.
“Be that as it may, government must try its best to meet some of ASUU’s obligations.”
NAN reports that ASUU insisted to continue its strike unless the Federal Government meets all existing demands.
But the Federal Government on its part believes that the ongoing strike would be called off soon, saying it was taken aback by the renewed strike which university teachers embarked on Feb. 14.
Addressing the resumed conciliation meeting , the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said government was surprised ASUU negated the understanding and assurances it gave through the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council(NIREC) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria , Rev. Supo Ayokunle.
According to the Minister who was in Botswana for the meeting of the African Regional Labour Administrative Centre(ARLAC) when ASUU declared action, said he thought the university teachers and their employer, the Ministry of Education would have resolved the areas of disputes within days.
“I sincerely thought ASUU and the Ministry of Education would have resolved the issues, which hopefully are not major areas of dispute, warranting industrial action.
”To my surprise , I came back , and the strike is still on. Be that as it may, it is the mandate of my Ministry to apprehend industrial disputes wherever they occur and we have apprehended this.
“ From this negotiation we are having today, ASUU will appreciate that government means no harm. This is because even if there are still lapses in implementation of agreement , they are not such that will lead to industrial action. To that extent , we have to do everything possible to resolve this.
”I must tell you that on the government side, they were taken by surprise in that before then, NIREC met with you(ASUU) and reported to the President. Having met with you (ASUU) and having given the details of their meeting with you, we sincerely hoped we won’t again take this route of industrial action.
”So, the government side is taken by surprise- Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and all are taken aback.”
Ngige, however, assured that the strike had been apprehended by his ministry and that the ongoing conciliation would prepare ground for an expanded meeting which will involve NIREC.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)