President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to consider the plight of students and call off the ongoing strike.
The president also called on the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to exercise patience as the federal government works on resolving the crisis.
Buhari made the appeal on Thursday at the 19th National Productivity Day Celebration at the state house conference centre, Abuja.
The president said he had, on February 1, directed Ibrahim Gambari, his chief of staff; Adamu Adamu, minister of education; and Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, to work together to address the concerns of the union.
But in a statement issued on Monday, ASUU extended the industrial action by another 12 weeks. The decision was reached after a meeting of the union’s national executive council (NEC) on Sunday at its University of Abuja secretariat.
The union had said since the president issued the directive, no meeting had been held by the concerned officials to resolve the crisis.
“NEC was shocked that public universities have remained closed for about three months while members of the political class were busy purchasing expression of interest and nomination forms worth several millions of Naira in preparations for 2023 elections,” the union had said.
“Those in power turned their back on our degraded universities as they shuttle between Europe and America to celebrate the graduation of their children and wards from world class universities. This speaks volumes on the level of depravity, insensitivity, and irresponsibility of Nigeria’s opportunistic and parasitic political class.”
The union had described the federal government’s attitude towards the strike action as “cavalier” and “counter-productive”.