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Gbajabiamila Summons Ministers, ASUU Leadership Over Looming Strike


Gbajabiamila Summons Ministers, ASUU Leadership Over Looming Strike

In a bid to stop the looming strike in the nation’s public universities, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has summoned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and the national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to a meeting on Thursday over the strike threat issued by the university lecturers on Monday.

Gbajabiamila made the disclosure at the plenary on Tuesday after a motion of urgent public importance was moved by the Chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education, Prof Julius Ihonvbere.

Ihonvbere had prayed the House to urge the Federal Government to open a realistic negotiation with ASUU to stop the strike and “implement the signed agreement in the interest of our students, their parents, the education sector and the country.”

In his ruling, the Speaker said, “The Committees on Education, Tertiary and Basic, should investigate and report back to the House. I will meet with the Minister of Finance, Minister of Education and representatives of ASUU in my office on Thursday.”

Moving the motion titled, ‘Motion on the Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Do All Within Its Powers to Stop the Impending ASUU Strike,’ Ihonvbere said, “The House notes with dismay that once again, ASUU in Nigeria is threatening to proceed on another industrial action on a matter that has been on the front burner for so long; the implementation of negotiated and signed agreements with the Federal Government.

“The House notes also that the Federal Government has not been 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.

“The House is aware that the ASUU President has threatened to call out his members across the nation, if all the issues, including those of unpaid earned allowances and the universities revitalisation funds, are not addressed within a period of three weeks.”

Contributing to the debate, the Deputy Majority Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said another strike by ASUU would affect so many people. She stated that it was wrong for the government to sign agreement and later renege.

The Majority Whip, Mohammed Monguno, said the House should take advantage of the ongoing work on the 2022 Appropriation Bill to allocate more funds to the education sector.

Gbajabiamila, however, argued that the issue was not about funding, decrying that the finance and education ministers are passing the bulk on where the money was.

Recall that ASUU had given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum over its failure to implement the agreement both parties signed.

This is as the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, claimed in an interview with The PUNCH that the union had failed to submit a breakdown of the workers entitled to the N22.1bn earned allowances.

ASUU had embarked on a nine-month strike in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of universities and alleged ineffectiveness and discrepancies around the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and others.

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