The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, yesterday in Abuja was reported to have walked out on students protesting the continued face-off between the government and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, who have paralysed academic activities in the nation’s universities.
The students, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, had taken their protest to the minister’s office, clutching placards demanding a quick resolution of the crisis.
Commenting on the development, Asefon said: ”We only asked the minister one or two questions about what the government is doing to resolve the impasse, when he angrily left us and went inside. ”We are surprised at the development because as students, we are the ones bearing the brunt of the strike. We are going to hold a meeting to deliberate on the next step to take and we will get back to you,” he said on phone.
Protest in Oyo
Meanwhile, protests by students calling on the government to find a solution to the matter took place in some major towns and cities across the country.
In Oyo State, the B Zone of NANS, yesterday threatened to block all federal roads in the state, if the crisis was not resolved.
The students at a peaceful demonstration held at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, carried placards with different inscriptions such as: “FG and ASUU: Stop the madness”; “Incessant ASUU/FG face-off, a demonstration of craze”; “At the end of every strike, only students lose”; among others.
The Southwest Coordinator of NANS, Comrade Tegbe Steven Fiyinfoluwa, who addressed newsmen after the protest, vowed that the association would block all federal roads, starting from today, if the government and ASUU failed to reach an agreement, yesterday.
He said: “We are holding our peaceful demonstration here today (yesterday) Monday, because of the lingering crisis between ASUU and federal government which has been a recurring event over the years. Unfortunately, we students are at the receiving end.
“We are calling on the federal government to learn how to respect agreements. We have seen on many occasions when the federal government and ASUU reached an agreement but the federal government failed to fulfil its part of the agreement. We are also calling on ASUU to have a decisive way of spending their resources, even when their demands are met.”
Protest in Kano
In Kano, the students, who stormed the Ministry of Higher Education situated in Gidan Murtala, also carried placards and chanted solidarity songs.
The students, led by Yazid Tanko Mohammed, said they were always at the receiving end of the face-off.
Mohammed said: “ASUU has been going on strike since 2009, and students are always the victims of the strike. We are not benefiting from the strike. Instead, we are always at the receiving end. Imagine, a programme that is supposed to last for four years will take up to six years. And the one meant for five years will take up to seven to eight years,” Mohammed lamented.
Responding, the Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Mariya Bunkure, who was represented by the Director, Academics Planning, Musa Gambo, assured the students that the Ministry would convey their message to Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He appreciated the manner the students conducted themselves peacefully during the protest.
Protest in Osun
Some students in Osun State, under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students and Joint Campus Committee, NANS/JCC, Osun axis, yesterday stormed the streets in the state capital, Osogbo, protesting the FG\ASUU debacle.
Addressing journalists at Oke-Fia, the Chairman, NANS/JCC, Osun Axis, Comrade Oyelayo Afeez, said the protest was to make ASUU and FG realise that their action was at the detriment of students, who paid to access education.
“We are demanding an end to the incessant dispute between ASUU and the FG, it affects students. We are paying to access education in Nigeria, yet, government and the union seem not bothered about our situation,” he said.
Meeting of the two parties
Meanwhile, another round of meeting by the two sides is slated for today in Abuja.
The government’s team is expected to include the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, and his Labour Ministry counterpart, Dr Chris Ngige, while the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, will lead the union’s team.
Their previous meeting did not achieve much, as the union accused the government’s delegation of not preparing for anything and acting as if they were not familiar with the issues in contention.
ASUU had been on strike since February 14 because of the failure of the FG to renegotiate the 2009 agreement, the replacement of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS, as the payment platform in the university sector, among others.
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ASUU to hold emergency meeting tomorrow over suspension of strike
ABUJA-THE striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will convene emergency National Executive Council, NEC meeting on Thursday, to review recent developments, especially the positive response from the federal government to its demands.
Preparatory to the meeting expected to take place at its headquarters in Abuja,the union has directed its zonal branches to collate the views of members through vote during the meetings expected to hold tomorrow in its various zones across the country.
The outcome of the meeting would result in suspension of the strike on late Thursday or Friday morning.
This came as report had emerge in the social media space earlier on Tuesday, claiming that the union had called off the almost 8-month old strike and subsequently directed members to resume academic activities on October 17.
ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, while responding to enquiry to that effect, dismissed the report, saying the strike was yet to be suspended.
He, however,said the union was working towards the suspension of the action, saying the action would be dependent on the views of members from the zonal meetings.
The latest action of the lecturers’union came following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives,Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The Speaker had on Monday,after a meeting with ASUU president and other members,assured that the strike would be suspended very soon, saying his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the union’s action was fruitful.
Earlier,human rights lawyer and counsel to ASUU,Femi Falana,SAN, had also said the union would soon call off its nearly eight-month old strike.
We’re hopeful of end to strike in few days, says ASUU
PRESIDENT of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Emmanuel Osodeke, said yesterday the union was optimistic of ending its strike soon, noting that for the first time, there is light at the end of the tunnel
It will be recalled that the Appeal Court had last Friday, ordered the union to ask its members to return to work within, after it (union) appealed an early order by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, to resume.
Osodeke, spoke yesterday at a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives, whose speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his team recently intervened in the disadreement between the federal government and the union on the strike which had been on for eight months.
He said: “Please, let all of us work together to put a beautiful end to this thing we have started, so that every Nigerian will be proud that we have universities we can be proud of.
“Once again, I want to thank you, I also extend our appreciation to the president for intervening, I want to appeal that in the future, we should not allow strike to linger. Strike should not go beyond two days.
“If the way the National Assembly has intervened, if we had done that long ago, or those in charge of labour and education had done exactly this, we would not be where we are today. We would not have stayed more than two or three weeks on this strike. There is strike all over the world, UK, US, all over, but they don’t allow it to last.
“So, once again, thank you very much and we hope that working together, in the next few days, we can put an end to this particular imbroglio in the Nigerian educational system.”
The meeting was called at the instance of the speaker to brief the union about the intervention of the House with President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike.
UNILAG appoints new bursar
The Governing Council of the University of Lagos has appointed Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Adekunle as the new Bursar of the university.
Adekunle’s five-year tenure as the bursar of the institution will commence from Thursday, November 3, 2022.
This is contained in a statement released by the Communication Unit of UNILAG on Thursday.
The statement read, “The Governing Council of the University of Lagos, at its meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2022, approved the appointment of Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Yetunde Adekunle as the new Bursar of the University.
“Her tenure is for five (5) years with effect from Thursday, November 3, 2022.
“Mrs. Adekunle until her appointment was Deputy Bursar, Treasury. She joined the services of the University in 2005.
“She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of Lagos. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
“Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Yetunde Adekunle takes over from the current Bursar, Dr. Lekan Lawal, whose tenure ends on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.”
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