The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the House of Representatives have scheduled a meeting for Tuesday to discuss the seven-month-long strike.
ASUU is expected to submit a written presentation to the House outlining its position on the matter ahead of the meeting, which is being convened at the request of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
In a letter signed by the Clerk of the House, Yahaya Danzaria, Gbajabiamila also stated that the lawmakers were “more concerned by the negative consequences of the strike on the future and quality of education of our teeming youths.”
“The Hon. Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, hereby invites you to a stakeholders meeting in order to find a lasting solution to the lingering strike embarked upon by ASUU since February 2022,” the letter reads.
“The House of Representatives is deeply concerned about the renewed strike, which appears to have defied all efforts made by the Federal Government and the striking university teachers to find a solution or reach an agreement.”
“The House is more concerned about the strike’s negative impact on the future and quality of education of our teeming youths, who have been kept at home for over seven months despite the House’s and several well-meaning Nigerians’ intervention over time to ensure that the matter was resolved.”
“In light of the foregoing, the House hereby requests another opportunity to meet with stakeholders and ASUU leadership to seek an amicable resolution, notwithstanding the fact that the matter is already before the (National)Industrial Court.”
Henry Nwawuba, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Agenda, stated that members would not sit back and watch the strike drag on. Now they are saying we should go back and that they will address the issues. Does it not sound somehow? “If when we are on strike the government refused to address the issues, is it when students have resumed that we will have the time to do anything? It is so sad.”
Some of the contentious issues that led to the strike include the non-release of funds for the revitalisation of federal universities, non-payment of earned allowance (or earned academic allowance) of lecturers, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement between the government and ASUU, and the non-release of White Paper for visitation panel. Others are the non-payment of minimum wage arrears and the inconsistency occasioned by the use of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as well as the government’s insistence on the no-work, no-pay rule.
The government had a week ago sued ASUU, seeking an order compelling its members to resume work. Last Friday, the court adjourned the hearing till today.