ASUU Strike – FG Summons Varsity Councils, VCs

The Federal Government has summoned the governing councils and the vice-chancellors of all the universities over the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday instructed the Governor Gabriel Suswam-led government negotiating team to meet the governing councils and the vice chancellors within the week.

Suswam disclosed this to State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday after an emergency meeting attended by Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim, Chief of Staff to the president Mike Oghiadomhe as well as Education, Finance and Labour Ministers.

Suswam, who heads the Needs Assessment Committee of Universities, said the president’s instruction was aimed at updating the governing councils and the vice chancellors on some of the decisions taken on the earned allowance and the N100 billion physical infrastructure budget.

The governor did not provide the details on the decisions, but said the government opted to meet the governing councils and the vice chancellors “because earned allowance is something that can be certified by the management and councils of the universities”.

According to him, the government hopes to see the strike end as soon as the ASUU is satisfied with the measures taken so far.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to flagging off the N100bn project comprising hostels, classrooms, lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories in the universities across the country on September 1, he stressed that procurement process would be followed.

Suswam claimed that the government had shifted its ground by offering N30 billion to assist the various university councils on the contentious issue of earned allowance.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the federal government to honour its agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in order to end the ongoing strike that has paralyzed academic activities in the nation’s public universities.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said no government worth its salt can afford to play with education, because it is the path to national development.

It said ASUU was not making any fresh demand beyond the agreement it reached with the government in 2009, adding that “Agreements are meant to be honoured, and breaching them comes with some consequences.”

The statement said the strike which has kept students in public universities at home for many weeks is a further blow to the country’s education system.