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Strike: Issues would be resolved earlier if enough concern was shown, ASUU tells Buhari

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it would have suspended its ongoing strike if concern was shown by the federal government in the early stages of the industrial action.

Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU president, said this on Saturday in an interview with NAN in Lagos.

Earlier on Saturday, in his speech to mark Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary, President Muhammadu Buhari had urged ASUU to call off the seven-month strike, adding that his administration will address their demands.

“I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system and I am using this Independence Day celebration to re-iterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available,” Buhari had said.

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“This administration has made appreciable progress in redressing these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years.”

Speaking on the development, Osodeke said the union has always been open to dialogue that would bring lasting solution.

He also said ASUU is “not happy” that the protracted strike by its members has not been resolved.

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“Today, we are celebrating our independence as a nation, and I think it calls for deep reflection by all,” Osodeke was quoted as saying.

“This issue would have since been resolved if enough concern was shown at the early stage.

“We are not happy that our children have been at home for this length of time.”

Also speaking, Chinwe Obaji, a former minister of education, decried the incessant disruption of the academic calendar of universities.

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“The expression by President Buhari on the matter during his broadcast today is touching. And I really pray he swings into action,” she said.

“These children have suffered so much mental stress. They have been the ones bearing the brunt in all these, for a fault that is by no means theirs.

“The question now is ‘how are the lecturers going to make up for this lost time should they decide to go back to class?’ Most of these students refer to us, including the lecturers, as their parents and in all of these, they have not been found wanting.

“Rather, they have been at the receiving end whenever strikes like this occur.”

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She recalled a period when the universities witnessed such protracted strike by lecturers in the past.

“These students were made to start examination two weeks after the strike, and to me, it’s a great disservice to not just them, their parents, but to the entire nation at large,” Obaji said.

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“These students, during this period, could have been exposed to all forms of vices and avoidable calamities, just as they will also pay their rents — for those living off campus — irrespective of their long absence.”

She emphasised the need for ASUU to have a rethink and seek an avenue to resolve the issue amicably for the sake of the students.

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Obaji also said lecturers must find means of making up for the lost time for the students and not just resume to rush them into writing examinations.

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