By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate has begun moves to engage the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)m with a view to calling off the strike for the overall interest of the nation’s education sector and the Nigerian students in various Ivory towers.
Against this backdrop, the Senate Tuesday, mandated the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Jibrin Barau, APC, Kano North, to as a matter of urgency have a meeting with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and the leadership of ASUU to have a common ground to resolving the matter.
The resolution of the Senate followed a point of Order raised by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, All Progressives Congress, APC, Yobe North
Speaking Senator Lawan who noted that the strike would have had dire consequences on Nigeria, said, “Nigeria was on the verge of a serious economic, social and political calamity when the Organised Labour and the Federal Government of Nigeria could not agree on a new national minimum wage. Thank God, we were brought back from (the edge of) the precipice. The two sides agreed last night and, therefore, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and all their affiliates suspended their intention to go on strike strike. Thank God for that.
“I will pray here that the Federal Government should not wait until when there is a threat of strike before it does the right thing of reviewing salaries and wages. Also, our workers should improve on their productivity. Whatever we pay our workers, we should earn value for money.
“With this, I want to urge ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) to suspend the strike they started two days ago. Our universities are already late in some of the cases of resumption. So, there is the need for the government particularly the Federal Ministry of Education and ASUU to dialogue like the NLC and TUC did with the Federal Government, so that our students will remain in our universities.
“One of the reasons why many people, if they can afford it, send their wards outside of Nigeria is the unpredictability of terms (semesters), when our universities could easily be shut.
“I want to urge our Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND to engage ASUU and the Federal Ministry of Education to see the possibility of compromising or taking actions that will lead to the suspension of the strike by the union.”
In his remarks, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki who criticised the Federal Government for waiting to review the minimum wage until Labour proposed industrial action, said, “We are all happy to receive the news that the government and Labour have reached an agreement. We commend the efforts of both sides. As you rightly said, it is unfortunate that we had to get to this point. There had been many opportunities before now for this to have been resolved.
“Be that as it may, we hope that both sides will keep to their commitment so that there will be nothing that will bring us back to the issue of strike. And all promises or terms of the agreement should be fulfilled. ASUU too should reconsider their position.”