Nigeria's president weighs into university teachers crisis

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday ordered the government's negotiators to take immediate actions to end a strike staged by the country’s university teachers

Nigeria's president weighs into university teachers crisis

World Bulletin/News Desk

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday ordered the government's negotiators to take immediate actions to end a strike staged by the country’s university teachers, but the teachers said they would wait until that happens.

“The president has instructed us as to what to do and he has shown a lot of commitment to flagging off projects worth about N100 billion in all the universities in the country, about 61 of them," Gabriel Suswam, the chair of the Universities Needs Implementation Committee, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Jonathan in the capital Abuja.

"He directed immediate action to end the strike."

Suswam said about N100 billion had been approved by the Federal Government to his committee to address infrastructure deficit in all the Universities.

“So, we are hoping that we will be able to see the end of the strike very soon."

Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati confirmed the steps taken by President Jonathan in a brief telephone chat with Anadolu Agency.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the umbrella body of all teachers in Nigeria’s public universities, had on July 1 staged an indefinite strike to force the government to fulfill all promises made in an agreement reached between both sides in 2009.

The agreement includes heavy funding for university education and payment of all earned allowances of the teachers. The amount agreed totals N1.5trillion ($9.375b), according to data seen by the Anadolu Agency.

"We hope ASUU is satisfied with the measures that have so far been taken," said Suswam, who is also Governor of the north-central Benue State.

“The federal government will also be meeting with the Universities Councils and Vice Chancellors of our universities within the week towards updating them on some of the decisions taken.”

Nasir Fagge, president of the ASUU, could not be reached at the time of filing this report as calls and a text message sent to his mobile were not answered.

But Abiodun Aremu, scribe of the Joint Action Forum (JAF) and a strong ally of ASUU which co-sponsored the recent mass protests to push for immediate resolution of the crisis, said they are waiting for the government to take “such immediate actions first before we take the government serious.”

“It is not for them to make newspaper headlines. Concrete actions must be taken," he told AA.

"I can assure you that we have the confidence of our friends in the academic union that there is no going back to the classrooms until the agreements reached in 2009 are implemented to the letter,” he asserted.

“We are talking about money running into N1.5trillion and here they come talking about N100b. That is a nonstarter.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ağustos 2013, 09:06
YORUM EKLE