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ASUU strike: Gbajabiamila invites Zainab Ahmed, education minister

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The speaker of the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has invited the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, over the strike notice issued by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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ASUU had issued a three-week ultimatum to the federal government to implement the agreement it reached with the union.

Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU’s national president, said the strike notice became necessary due to the failure of the government to implement the memorandum of action (MoA) it signed with the union.

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Moving a motion on the matter on Tuesday, Julius Ihonvbere, a lawmaker from Edo state, said the federal government has not shown seriousness in implementing its part of the agreement.

“The federal government has not been quite forthcoming, neither has it attached any consistent seriousness to the urgent need to reposition and refocus the education sector in line with our developmental objectives,” he said.

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“Incessant strikes disrupt the academic calendar and contribute significantly to the poor quality of graduates in the country, with far-reaching implications for national development; the strikes encourage brain drain, migration of students abroad and low world rankings of our academic institutions.”

The lawmaker said it was embarrassing that the federal government has “since the last strike was called off in December 2020, continued to pass the buck, make excuses and engage in diversions and distractions rather than meet the terms of agreement it signed with the union”.

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Contributing to the motion, Nkeirukah Onyejeocha, deputy chief whip, said “it is very disappointing and disheartening” that the situation has not been resolved.

“Looking at what is going on today, most of our children are not in school because of insecurity. The government had gone into agreement with ASUU, this agreement was not signed under duress,” she said.

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“If we allow these people (ASUU) to go on strike again, do you know how many souls will be affected? The Bible says it is wrong for you to make an agreement and not keep your part.”

Also speaking, Ossai Nicholas, a lawmaker from Delta, said a covenant is sacrosanct and trust is important in good governance.

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“It has reached a situation where the universities should be put on first-line charge,” he said.

“If we are doing the needful, the federal government should provide this money within one month. COVID-19 put our children at home without doing anything, then we are about to use our hands to put our children at home.

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After the debate, the green chamber asked its committee on education (basic and tertiary) to investigate the continuous breach of the agreement by the federal government.

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