From the House of Repre-sentatives Committee on Education came an appeal yesterday to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its industrial action and allow a resumption of negotiations with the Federal Government.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Farouk Lawan, who made the appeal in a chat with newsmen, said resumption of normal academic activities in the nation’s ivory towers while negotiations continued was in the best interest of students, parents and the education sector. Lawan acknowledged that though ASUU had a good cause, it was better to also consider the long term effects of the frequent strikes on the academic calendar and the products of the institutions.
Farouk noted that the state of education in Nigeria was already bad and there was an urgent need to press for reforms like the lecturers were doing, adding that prolonged strike might eventually worsen the state of the institutions. “The issue of improving the quality and standard of education which I believe is a very laudable objective and it is one that is shared by all of us, those of us in the legislature and also even those in the executive.
“The issues at stake are issues that are quite laudable and issues that nobody can contest with. But the measure in pursuing those issues, to me, is further worsening the situation that is already very critical and very bad.
“I believe it is time for ASUU to end this strike; whatever point they needed to make I believe has already been made and any further continuation of this action would only continue to worsen a situation that is already bad,” he said.
Lawan disclosed that talks were on between the House committee, the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, and the leader of the Federal Government negotiation team, Mr. Gamaliel Onosode, on modalities to adopt in tackling the challenge before the nation. The committee, he said, had also met with the Minister of Labour, Chief Adetokunbo Kayode, on the crisis plaguing the education sector.
According to Lawan, dialogue remained a veritable tool for resolving conflicts and urged ASUU to prevail on its members and all other trade unions in the universities to return to their duty posts.
On the recent threat by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to embark on another strike, Lawan said the matter was already being handled by the Governors Forum but pleaded with states that were yet to begin the implementation of the Teacher Salary Scale (TSS) to begin to do so to avert the looming strike.