by Stanley Azuakola
There were several reports last week that the ongoing negotiations between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had reached an advanced stage and shortly the union would call off the strike. However ASUU, through its national president, Nasir Faggae, has come out to say it’s simply not true, describing it as mere speculation.
The news will come as a disappointment to university students across government owned institutions in the country who have been forced to sit idly at home for over one month.
Faggae said he was surprised to hear that the union was planning to call off the strike this Thursday when the problematic issues which forced the union into the strike had still not been resolved.
He said: “There is nothing like that (suspending the strike). I am also surprised to hear people say that we are going to call off the strike. Our members have made it categorically clear what they want. This meeting we had with government on Friday at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, is just exploratory.
“We are trying to look at issues holistically and see how we are going to address them. So assignments were given to various people that attended the meeting and the expectation is that we will meet tomorrow (today), Monday and look at the assignment given and also look at it on Thursday again.
“So, that is why I’m surprised to hear people say that we are going to suspend strike on Thursday. The mandate of our members is very clear. So, we will wait and see what the Monday and Thursday meetings unfold and then we report back to our members.”
Faggae also commended the efforts of the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Education towards the resolution of the crisis.
He said: “For us, the interaction we have had with the Joint Committee clearly indicates that they are concerned like other Nigerians.
“This is expected of the representatives of people. You see the problem has always been that the executive arm of government does not really hearken to advise that are given on how best to address the problems on education in this country.
“We are convinced as a union that the only thing the government can really do for Nigerians is to avail them of education.
“Once you are able to do that, you will see that people will be able to generate jobs and they will be able to take care of themselves and contribute to nation building. So that is the argument we are placing on the table.”