‘Strike can’t be the tool we use every time’ — Gbaja brokers truce between ASUU, FG

November 19, 2021
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Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, has brokered a truce between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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ASUU and the government have been at loggerheads in the past months. 

ASUU had, in a recent strike notice, issued a three-week ultimatum to the federal government to implement the agreement it reached with the union.

While meeting with representatives from both parties on Thursday, Gbajabiamila said strike cannot be the only “tool” used all the time. 

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Present at the meeting were Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance; Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, as well as ASUU representatives.

Gbajabiamila also called on the government not to enter into agreements it cannot honour. 

“It will be irresponsible of us, as leaders, to sit and watch things deteriorate,” he said. 

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“We have to be mindful of the unintended consequences of strike actions that can be far-reaching, knowing how important education is to the children and the future of our country.

“Whatever the issues, strikes cannot continue to be a perennial exercise; strikes cannot be the tool we use at all time but only when things finally break down.

“On the other hand, the government should also not go into agreements it cannot honour.

“While everybody has an equal share of the blame, how to resolve the issue is the most important and that is why we are here.” 

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At the meeting, the government representatives agreed to make available, within one week, N30 billion universities’ revitalisation fund.

It was also agreed that the federal government would sort out the N22 billion earned academic allowances component from the education sector budget.

The government also said it was not averse to the deployment of the proposed alternative payment platform, university transparency and accountability solution (UTAS), developed by ASUU.

It was also agreed that the renegotiation of the N1.3 trillion agreement reached in 2019 between the ASUU and the government would start in a week’s time.

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