House of Reps intervenes as varsities join ASUU warning strike
• Meets ministers, others today
• UNN, Unilorin, OAU, UNIOSUN fully comply as UNILAG, UNICAL carry out skeletal activities
Worried about the seemingly intractable face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to intervene in the crisis.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Dachung Bagos titled “Urgent Public Importance and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Strike.”
Bagos, while presenting the motion, noted that ASUU had on March 9, 2020, after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Enugu State, threatened to go on two weeks warning strike.
The lawmaker, who noted that schools had just resumed for academic activities, expressed concern that the strike if allowed to take full effect, would cost a lot of students an extra academic year.
According to him, the continued yearly strike by ASUU is becoming an embarrassment to the country.
The House, therefore, resolved that the leadership should intervene in the ASUU strike.
Wunmi Onanuga, who supported the motion, said the fight of the lecturers for their right had taken a while, adding that “they don’t have to be begging for what is theirs.”
Rimande Shawulu recalled that a few years ago, Nigerians reportedly spent N5 billion on education in Ghana and £300 million in the United Kingdom for the same purpose, making the Nigerian education to be so brittle.
He warned that a strike at this time would worsen the situation “because about a million candidates are seeking admission and only about 250,000 will get placements while the remaining 800,000 have nowhere to go.”
Shawulu lamented that the needs of the universities were not being met and the institutions not being properly funded.
An amendment by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, broadened it to encompass the warring factions.
The House resolved that the leadership should meet with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige; and the President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, today on the matter.
However, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), lecturers totally complied with the action by shunning the classroom.”
A team of enforcers constituted by the ASUU-UNN chapter moved round the institution yesterday to ensure compliance.
In the University of Ilorin, the scenario was same. The institution, as a matter of fact, joined the strike for the first time in 19 years.
Same development was reordered at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife and Osun State University (UNIOSUN), Osogbo as they both actively participated in the industrial action.
But at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and University of Calabar (UNICAL), the exercise was observed in the breach.
The two institutions observed skeletal activities.
At UNILAG for instance, students were taking lectures when The Guardian visited.
In UNICAL, lectures were going on in some of the departments yesterday. Students were also seen going about their normal activities.