Nigeria: Senate committee intensifies effortsto resolve ASUU strike

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Education, Sen. Jibrin Barau, on Friday said efforts were being made to speedily meet the demands of striking university lecturers.

Barau gave the assurance during an inspection of projects by the commitee at the University of Lagos.

The committee was on oversight function  at the university.

Recall that the lecturers, under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities  (ASUU), on Nov. 5, embarked on what they described as a comprehensive, total and indefinite nationwide strike  to drive home their demands.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecturers are protesting non-implementation of an agreement they entered into with the Federal Government.

They are also demanding implementation of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) they also entered into with the Federal Government in 2017.

The university teachers are equally seeking improved facilities in the university system as well as enhanced  welfare.

Barau said that members of the upper legislative chamber were displeased with the strike.

According to him, what is needed at the moment is an approach that would ensure that ASUU and the Federal Government would reach a common ground fast.

”I must tell you that we are not happy with this strike because we cannot continue like this.

”I have personally sponsored a bill to see how the Federal Government and ASUU can reach a common ground concerning the demands of these lecturers.

”As the committee chairman, I have been trying to interface between ASUU and the Federal Government.

”ASUU on its part too should be considerate as the Federal Government may not have all it takes to meet most of its demands now,” he said.

The lawmaker said the senate was worried about the industrial unrest because it could get students distracted and engage  in vices capable of compromising their future.

”An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” he said.

On the various projects inspected at the institution, Barau lauded the university for the effective management of resources to impact positively on  students, the university’s immediate environment and the nation at large.

”We have visited the construction sight of the new central library, the TETFund project, expanded renovated medical centre and the Entrepreneurship Development Centre, as well as some lecture theatres.

”I must say we are overwhelmed by what we have witnessed here today. Of note is the ongoing work embarked upon by the institution single-handedly at the health centre through its internally-generated revenue.

”We are made to understand that the university has earmarked about N200 million for the project alone. This is highly commendable.

“We are convinced that these projects will go a long way to impact not just on the students and staff of the university, but the entire country.

“ We, therefore, seize this opportunity to call on other universities to take a cue from the institution in other to achieve a Nigeria of our dream,” he said.

Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, who was part of the delegation,  praised  the institution for developing  skills of students through its entrepreneurship centre.

Tinubu urged the need for students to take skill acquisition serious for poverty eradication and financial independennce.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that the commendation by members of the committee would propel the university to do more.

According to him, development projects in the university at the moment were a collective effort aimed at taking the institution to the next level.

“We are happy that the committee members are expressing delight at what is going on in the university but I must say that we have not started. By the grace of God, we shall do more soon.

“It is a challenge that we can do more; therefore, there is the  need to work harder to take the university to greater heights,” he said.

NAN reports that senators Yahaya Kaura, Sam Egwu, Magnus Ibe and Idris Oricha were also part of the team.

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