Story from Emmanuel Ologun, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged members of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) to place the interest of the nation foremost in their minds and return to classes while the Federal Government intensifies efforts to meet their demands.
The president assured that no effort will be spared in the amicable resolution of all the issues raised by the union especially the improvement of the nation’s academic standard and provide a better work environment for lecturers to ensure that further industrial action will become unnecessary.
President Buhari, who made the appeal while addressing the closing session of the University of Abuja 2022 convocation ceremony on Friday, said the government understands the position of ASUU and will do everything possible to address the concerns of the association.
“Universities must maintain a certain level of stability for better academic performance to be attained. Education remains a most veritable platform for change for both individuals and society. The function and responsibility of developing education however should not be seen as the responsibility of government alone but it requires the collective efforts of parents, teachers, students, education administrators and the entire society.
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“It is on this note that I appeal to the ASUU to return to work immediately and continue to dialogue with the government on how to pursue their outstanding demands and grievances.
“Incessant strikes by lecturers has become one of the major impediments hampering the growth of our universities. As a responsible government, we are committed to do all in our powers to meet the demands of unions to ensure accessible, qualitative and quantitative education in the higher institutions,” the president, who was represented by Professor Abubakar Abdulrasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), remarked.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah remarked that the university management was saddened but understands the reasons for the latest strike by ASUU even though the action did not affect the convocation process.
Na’Allah appealed to the union and the government to expedite action in resolving the outstanding issues to prevent the industrial action from affecting the academic calendar and other activities within the learning communities.
“As concerned stakeholders in the national project and particularly the education sector, we pray for early resolution of the current impasse.
“We appeal to the parties involved in the impasse to continue with the dialogue that has been on and arrive at an amicable resolution without much further damage to the education sector and the aspirations of our future generations,” Prof. Na’Allah said.
He further stated that the university graduated 8269 students in the 25th and 26th combined convocation out of which 78 came out with doctorate degrees, 465 got masters while 214 received postgraduate diplomas.
Also, the university successfully cleared 12, 929 backlog of students who came out with first degrees from the Centre for Distant Learning and Continuing Education.