The upper legislature has moved to possibly forestall the ASUU strike and avert the impending full blown industrial action by mandating Senate President, Bukola Saraki to quickly intervene in the matter.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Barau Jibrin, called on the senate to intervene in the matter as a matter of urgent public importance.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the umbrella body of Nigerian lecturers had at the weekend issued a threat to embark on a warning strike on Wednesday, to protest Federal Government’s inability to comply with agreements reached with the union since 2009.
Jibrin admitted the need for the FG to implement the 2009 agreement with the union; worried that if government continues to forsake the demands of the lecturers, it could hold dire consequences for the country’s universities.
Seconding the motion, Senator Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central) stressed the need to nip the planned strike in the bud; calling on FG to engage ASUU and for the Senate to Intervene. He was backed by Senator Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central) and Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.
They called for the Senate President to wade into the matter, before it degenerates into full blown strike, and also urged the FG to engage with ASUU and ensure that its entitlements are captured in the 2017 budget.
Senate President, Saraki promised to honour Senate’s mandate by getting “the relevant parties to quickly come to the table so that we can find a way of moving forward and report back to us.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Federal Government declared ASUU’s planned nationwide strike as unconstitutional given that the union was yet to exhaust all the necessary mechanisms required before a strike could be embarked upon.
The FG has also through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, urged ASUU “to rescind its decision on the strike so as to give the government an opportunity to discuss all the contending issues arising from the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it reached with the government.
However, ASUU’s National President, Biodun Ogunyemi, has said that there is no going back on its one-week warning strike scheduled to begin today, Wednesday, November 16 2016.