Senator Uche Chukwumerije
The intervention of the National Assembly in the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff of Universities, continued on Monday with parties engaging in a prolonged dialogue.
As of the time of filing the report, ASUU and the Federal Government maintained their respective positions as the meeting went into a closed-door session.
Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, urged the union to reduce its demands to only three – the funding of the institutions, university autonomy and the Earned Academic Allowances.
He chided the government for its reluctance to honour the 2009 agreement which it signed with the union.
He said the appeal became necessary to ensure a timely resolution of the ongoing university strike.
He said, “It is a puzzle to Nigerians that it has on three occasions required the extreme action of withdrawal of services by ASUU to compel the attention of the government to the necessity of honouring 2009 agreement.
“Why endorse an agreement in the first instance if you had no intention of honouring it? Wherein then lies the basis for mutual trust.”
He also bemoaned a situation, he said, ASUU had become increasingly inclined to a “self righteous attitude.”
He called on both the executive and the leadership of ASUU to be flexible so as to reach an amicable settlement.
President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, argued that the union was not disposed to renegotiating its 2009 agreement with the Federal Government, stressing that it had consistently failed to implement agreements with ASUU.
He said the highest allocation to the education sector was 12.87 per cent during the regime of General Sani Abacha between 1994 – 1996.
He said since 2007 the relative allocation to education in the national budget was 8.19 in 2010; 6.41 per cent in 2011; 7.95 per cent in 2012; and 8.44 in 2013.
Fagge said, “Government is not sincere. Government is not interested in addressing the problems in the education sector.