House of Representatives, yesterday, charged the Federal Government to immediately open ‘realistic negotiations’ with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to avert another round of strike.

It also charged government to implement the agreements reached in the interest of university students, their parents, the education sector and the country at large.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has invited the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, his counterpart in the Ministry of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and a representative of ASUU to meet with him tomorrow, over the dispute between the government and the union.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education, Julius Ihonvbere, on “urgent need to do all within its powers to stop the impending ASUU strike” at plenary, yesterday.

Ihonvbere informed the House that lecturers were threatening to proceed on another strike over issues surrounding implementation of agreements.

He noted that government has not attached much seriousness “to the urgent need to reposition and refocus the education sector in line with our developmental objectives.”

The lawmaker added that “the ASUU president has threatened to call out his members across the nation, if all the issues, including those of unpaid academically earned allowances and the universities revitalisation fund are not addressed within three weeks.”

He stated that it was embarrassing that since the last ASUU strike was called off in December, 2020,  the Federal Government has continued to “pass the buck, make excuses and engage in diversions and distractions rather than meet the terms of agreement it signed with the Union.”

Ihonvbere contended that “the future of Nigerian students once again will be negatively impacted if this impending strike by ASUU is not nipped in the bud by the Federal Government.”

He said incessant strikes in public universities “disrupt the academic calendar and contribute significantly to the poor quality of graduates in the Country, with far-reaching implications for national development.”

Besides, he argued that strikes in university “encourage brain drain, migration of students abroad and low world rankings of our academic institutions.”

SUN