ASUU strike worsens as lecturerswalk out of meeting withlawmakers, ministers

ASUP said it will convene a meeting of
polytechnic lecturers very soon.
Efforts to resolve the ongoing indefinite
strike by university lecturers worsened on
Tuesday as the lecturers’ union leaders
walked out on lawmakers trying to
intervene in the crisis.<!-- more -->
The lecturers have been on strike for over
one week over government’s failure to
implement previous agreements with it
The lecturers’ union, the Academic Staff
Union of Universities, ASUU, on Tuesday
in Abuja, walked out on the joint National
Assembly Committee on Education at a
The meeting was also attended by
Ministers of Education and Labour,
Professor Ruqquayatu Ruf’ai and Emeka
Nwogu respectively.
The NASS joint committee on Education
had called the aggrieved unions in the
nation’s higher institutions for a dialogue
on the way forward in their ongoing
industrial action.
The meeting was convened by the joint
committee on education of the Senate
and House of Representatives.
The committee had invited ASUU, the
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics
(ASUP) and the Academic Staff Union of
Colleges of Education (COEASU) to a
dialogue to resolve the strikes.
The strike by ASUP, Nigerian polytechninc
lecturers, entered into its eight week;
while the ASUU strike began on July 1.
The committee had asked ASUU leaders
to excuse it, while it interacted with
ASUP and COEASU; which was viewed as
a slight by ASUU.
The representatives of ASUU left the
National Assembly Complex in annoyance,
saying they were slighted.
One of the members, who declined to
give his name, told journalists that they
had another appointment to attend to.
Another said, “asking us to excuse them is
a slight; why should they ask us to excuse
them; what is it that they want to discuss
that we cannot be part of.’’
The Chairman of the Senate Committee,
Uche Chukwumerije (PDP-Abia), tried to
defend ASUU’s actions, but members said
there was no rationale for ASUU to leave.
Mr. Chukwumerije said that the
committee would intensify its negotiation
with the government to ensure that the
issues at stake were resolved.
“All we are urging is that you call an
emergency meeting with 24 hours
because the students are getting restive.
“We need to understand that if these
students go out of hand, it will cause
more problems for the country.
“Please trust us to keep to this two
weeks we have given you to try and
implement your demands,’’ he said
Senator Sunny Ugbuoji (PDP-Ebonyi) said
it was unacceptable for ASUU to walk out
on the committee as this showed a
disregard for the entire parliament.
“ASUU has walked out on us and this
should be said in plain terms. What
meeting can be more important than this
meeting?’’ Mr. Ugbuoji asked.
Representative Farouk Lawan (PDP-Kano)
said that no matter what other meeting
ASUU had, “it was wrong to walk out on
us, we were trying to resolve a matter
concerning the unions.’’
Mr. Lawan said ASUU should have been
patient and waited to hear from the
members and the ministers, noting that
no other meeting could be more
He urged the committee chairmen not to
relent in rescheduling another meeting
with ASUU in the interest of the students
who were still at home. He described the
‘’snub’’ by the ASUU representatives as
not expected of university lecturers.
Rep. Jerry Alagbaso (PDP-Imo) said
ASUU’s action was unacceptable and
advised that a letter be written to the
union expressing the committee’s
“It is arrogant for them to snub us
knowing that this meeting is in the
interest of our children.
“I suggest that a strong-worded letter be
written to the union to tell them that we
are not happy with their action,” he said.
Earlier, the committee had appealed to
ASUP to call off its eight-week old strike,
saying that the committee was in talks
with the Federal Government on the way
The committee, however, expressed
optimism on the solution within two
The ASUP President, Chibuzor Asomugha,
told the committee that the union would
hold its National Executive Council (NEC)
meeting and try to do the bidding of the
National Assembly.
The President of COEASU, Emmanuel
Nkoro, appealed to the committee and
the ministers to look into his association’s
demands to avert any strike action.
The Minister of Education, Prof.
Ruqquayatu Ruf’ai, and her Labour
counterpart, Emeka Nwogu, appealed to
ASUP to convene a NEC meeting and call
off the strike.
Both ministers gave the assurance that
the Federal Government was looking into
issues raised with a view to reaching an
amicable resolution.

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