The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has written to the Academic Staff Union of Universities asking for a meeting with the union on Tuesday, September 20, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
In a letter signed by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Yahaya Danzarta, and addressed to the president of ASUU, the speaker expressed his concern over the failed negotiations between the Federal Government and the union.
The letter seen exclusively by our correspondent in Abuja was titled ‘NASS/HR/LEG/03/11/065’. It is dated September 15, 2022.
The letter reads in part: “The Hon. Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Honor. Femi Gbajabiamila, hereby invite you to a meeting of stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities since February 2022.
“The House of Representatives is deeply concerned about the renewed strike which seems to have defied all efforts to find solutions or reach an agreement between the Federal Government and the striking university lecturers.
“The House is more concerned about the negative effects of the strike on the future and quality of education of our teeming youths who have been kept at home for the past six months despite the intervention of the House and several well-meaning Nigerians over time to see the matter resolved is.
“In light of the foregoing, the House hereby requests for another opportunity to come together with stakeholders and leadership of ASUU to seek an amicable solution without prejudice to the fact that the matter is already in the Industrial Court.”
The letter also asked ASUU to submit a written presentation of its perspective on the matter to the House before the day of the meeting.
Students threaten to protest
Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students has vowed to take their protest to the international airports across the country and ground their activities.
Speaking in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Chairman, NANS National Task Force on ‘End ASUU Strike Now’, Ojo Olumide, said students are already tired of pleading with both parties on the necessity to end the strike.
According to him, the four-day closure of busy highways and expressways was a success, hence the move to disrupt international travel from September 19, 2022 so that “the bourgeois and the government can feel the pains the students went through. through the past seven months.”
He said: “We will start another round of protest next week by storming the skies on Monday 19th September 2022 to #OccupyTheAirports# We want to let the world know about the pains and anguish students are going through.
“Nigerian students whose parents create the commonwealth cannot continue to suffer at home with our lecturers while the few who benefit from our sweat and blood enjoy their children abroad.
“We call on students to stand up and join us as we take our destiny into our own hands. Our demands remain clear and simple throughout. We call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss and plan solidarity actions for the next phase of the struggle.
“Nigerian students are not subjected to security agencies and we have not seen any move from them to prevent ASUU strike.
Because we have been on the road for the past four days and got a lot of solidarity, the grounding of the airport is for us to get solidarity and we will continue to ground the local and international airports and they know the effect of us the airport ground.
“The only thing we ask of them is to reopen our campuses. They should give enough budget allocation, we are not asking for 26 percent we are asking for 22 percent. We accept a motion of no confidence in the Ministers of Labor and Education.
“We call on the Buhari government to pay all outstanding arrears and salaries of the lecturers. The policy of “No Work No Pay” is a fascist one; it is therefore condemnable and unacceptable to all the millions of students in Nigeria.
“We will, by this statement, not beg again. We will mobilize all students to shut down the country. No education! No Movement!
Olumide slammed the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, over his alleged comments on the blocking of federal roads by the students, noting that the strike continues due to the absence of children of the political class in public universities.