By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-AS the nation’s university teachers suspend their six week’s old strike, following some proposals dangled to them by the federal government, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has warned the latter against flouting the agreement.
It said the government should take responsibility and endeavour to comply with the Memorandum of Action reached to avert another strike.
The warning came as it hailed both ASUU and the Federal Government for what he called “their maturity which led to the suspension of the strike over non-implementation of the 2009 agreement.”
NANS President, Mr. Chinonso Obasi, in a statement released to newsmen,Tuesday, in Abuja, said dialogue remained the best option in conflict resolution.
“Dialogue is always the panacea for crisis resolution and the suspension of the strike is a welcome development that will bring relief not only to the students but also their parents as students can now return to school and continue with their studies.
“NANS however believes that just as ASUU has demonstrated responsibility, faith and understanding, the Federal Government should also demonstrate a sense of responsibility and endeavour to comply with the understanding reached to avert another level of face off with ASUU in the near future.
“The Federal Government should prioritise investment in the educational sector for the benefit of Nigeria. A situation where students are compelled to spend longer time than necessary for a particular course of study on a account of incessant strikes is a serious setback for the country.
“The students are always at the receiving end whenever strikes are declared. ASUU should always consult with NANS leadership as critical stakeholders in the educational sector before declaring or proceeding on strike in the future, “he said.
Obasi lamented the falling standard of education in Nigeria and its effect on the nation’s human capital development in the future.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, had in announcing the “conditional suspension of the strike”, said the action was suspended, after the union gave the Federal Government a deadline of the end of October to fulfil its promises.
“However, ASUU will not hesitate to review its position, should the government renege on its MoA, which you all witnessed”, he threatened and directed all members of ASUU are to resume work after their branch congresses.
He said: “We have signed a new Memorandum of Action. Each item on the list in the MoA has a timeline attached. It is our hope that our trust will not be dashed again. We hope that the government will abide with the timeline attached to all the items in the MoA.
“Let us give a precautionary advice; should the government unilaterally vary the agreements it signed with our union, we should not be held responsible for the consequences.
“Now on the conditional suspension of the strike; after an elaborate and extensive consultation process, the National Executive Council of ASUU has agreed to conditionally suspend the ongoing action, taking into cognizance that the latest proposal by the government to address the contentious issues in the strike has a deadline of the end of October 2017.
“There is always a question that why must ASUU adopt the strike option considering its impact on the quality of education which the union wants to raise. The answer to this is simple. ASUU’s resolve to forge a hitch-free academic calendar has been proved by the restraints it often showed before embarking on the strike.
“The current strike has been necessitated by the non-implementation of the 2009 agreement and the 2013 MoU and the 2016 resolutions. Specifically, the issues include funding for the revitalisation of universities, earned academic allowances and exemption of the university system from the Treasury Single Account.”