Akin Akande, Abuja
As the strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) drags on, the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has urged the Federal Government to involve past Presidents, governors and serving senators to resolve the stalemate.
The NUT’s suggestion is coming on the heels of recent threats by the union to embark on sympathy strike with ASUU, if government failed to resolve the crisis.
NUT President, Michael Olukoya, gave the suggestion at a meeting called by the Supervisory Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, in Abuja, Wednesday.
Olukoya also said the threat to solidarize with ASUU over their demands still stands, unless directed otherwise by the union’s National Executive Council (NEC).
His words: “With the way this strike has lingered on for three months, we believe government should explore all modalities to end it.
“Government should invite past heads of states, speakers, senators, Ministers of Labour and Education and every other stakeholder in the sector to resolve this ugly situation.
“Call powerful voices like traditional leaders to intervene in this strike because our concern as teachers is that as these undergraduates stay at home they are prone to negative vices and in turn these are the same people that would lead the society in future”.
Reacting to explanations by the Supervisory Minister of Education that almost 80 percent of ASUU’s demand had been met except on the earned allowances, Olukoya said there is no doubt that government has intervened greatly in the education sector.
He said government needed to relax some of the stringent conditions it places for assessing such intervention funds, particularly from agencies like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Meanwhile, Wike apologized to the union, insisting that he never made any derogatory statement against NUT.
Wike had allegedly questioned the rationale behind NUT’s planned solidarity strike, saying, “what is NUT’s business in the ongoing strike by ASUU”.
Wike said government would consider the new proposal given by the union.