Senate President Bukola Saraki has called on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU so as to end the lingering industrial action.
According to Saraki, it is unacceptable for the students who registered to vote in their institutions to be disenfranchised due to the strike.
Federal universities have been shut down since November when ASUU embarked on strike following government’s failure to implement the agreement reached in November 2016.
However, Saraki said the country cannot continue a system whereby its universities are frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of young people.
The Senate president disclosed this in a statement issued on his behalf by Yusuph Olaniyonu, his media aide.
The statement read, “In November 2016, the Senate intervened in the ASUU strike and met with the officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour, Employment and Productivity and the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
“At that meeting, which was attended by the Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity in the National Assembly, we agreed that the Federal Government should work to implement the agreement that it reached with ASUU in 2009, and subsequently, we set up a sub-committee to liaise with both ASUU and the Federal Government on this issue.
“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) because this issue goes beyond negotiations. It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections.
“Make no mistake, we cannot continue this system whereby our universities will be frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of our young people — and creating negative bottlenecks that place unnecessary stress on our universities.
“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.
“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue.”