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Gbajabiamila pleads with ASUU as union insists strike is legal

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its strike in the interest of students.

He also urged the lecturers to consider negotiating with the Federal Government on the way out of the impasse. Gbajabiamila made the appeal yesterday during a tripartite meeting involving the legislative chamber, the union and the government in Abuja.

He stated: “We have tried to avert strikes and we have been successful at it: Medical and electric strikes. It does not speak well of the country. It has become almost perennial that at every point, somebody is holding somebody somewhere. There are basically two main issues here. Agreements and IPPIS. The law says you should give 15 days notice. The law is not there to be broken. The notice is to delay the inevitable. It does not in any way affect the strike.”

Responding, ASUU President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, averred that the industrial action could not be called off without consultation with all branches of the union nationwide.

On IPPIS, he ruled out the possibility of the body signing into the policy, stating that it would impede scholastic researches and image of the nation’s universities both at home and abroad.

Also yesterday, ASUU described as ludicrous the claim by the Federal Government that its two-week warning strike was illegal. Its Port Harcourt zonal coordinator, Dr. Uzo Onyebinama, while insisting that the exercise is legal, told journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt that the current crisis was avoidable.

He claimed that the government had an ulterior motive to destabilise public universities hence its insistence on the implementation of the IPPIS rule.

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