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Strike: FG raises hope on varsities’ reopening

…inaugurates renegotiation team on pacts with ASUU

In renewed efforts to reach an implementable agreement with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has inaugurated a Federal Government’s team to re-negotiate the residual issues in the 2009 Agreements between the government and the varsity union.

The team, which is cat-egorised into substantive members, advisers and observers, is led by Professor Emeritus Munzali Jibril. Adamu, who inaugurated the team yesterday in Abuja, revealed that public universities would soon reopen for academic activities.

He noted that government has been neck deep in several meetings with the leadership of ASUU and other relevant stakeholders, in a bid to resolve the outstanding issues that led to the current industrial action. The industrial action has kept university students and academic staff off the campuses for so long.

While disclosing that significant progress has been recorded in the course of the meetings, he reaffirmed the commitment of the present administration to finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the education sector, most especially the university sub-sector. According to him, government was determined to use all the available resources in providing the requisite environment, infrastructure as well as improve the conditions of service for all categories of staff in Nigerian universities.

His words: “Government, like other stakeholders, is also worried about the vicious cycle over the years of the myriad of industrial actions by one staff union or the other. The cumulative effect has been the obvious loss of productive and precious man-hours direly needed by the universities to fulfill their tripod mandates of teaching, research and community action.

“All these have affected negatively on our learning outcomes and the reputation of the Nigerian brand, which hitherto was the pride of the nation.” Adamu also revealed that the Federal Government’s team was expected to take another look at the 2009 Agreements reached with academic based unions, and work with each union towards making farreaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system.

“The FGN’s team is expected to take another look at the 2009 Agreements reached with the university- based unions and work with each union towards making far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university system.

It has also become necessary and urgent that all hands must now be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents and the general public,” the minister said. The members are expected to, amongst others, “re-negotiate the residual issues in the 2009 Agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the university-based unions, towards a workable and implementable agreement between both parties, such that will facilitate a repositioning of Nigerian universities for greater responsibilities in national development.”

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