Consider Plight of Students and Suspend Strike—Buhari Begs ASUU

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been urged to consider the plight of students and suspend the ongoing strike.

Speaking at the 19th National Productivity Day in Abuja on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari said efforts are being made to resolve the lingering issues between the union and the federal government.

ASUU had earlier embarked upon a two-month warning to force the government to honour the agreement signed in 2009 but after nothing was done, it extended the industrial action for another three months.

At the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) on 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations in both the public and private sectors, for their high productivity, hard work and excellence, President Buhari disclosed that his administration recognises that the future of any nation is contingent on the standard of its educational system, promising to uplift the standard of the educational system in the country.

According to him, he earlier directed his Chief of Staff, the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately bring all parties to the negotiation table to again critically look at the grey areas in the demands of ASUU.

Mr Buhari expressed optimism that all the issues would be resolved, appealing to the lecturers to exercise patience. He also urged students in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions to give the government time to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of the resources available.

While speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, Achieving Higher Productivity through Improved Education System, the President disclosed that efforts would be made to “transform Nigeria into a competitive, strong, vibrant, productive and sustainable economy.”

“Quality educational system is good not just for the national economy; it is also good for the citizens,” he disclosed, emphasising that, “Ignoring the productivity dimension of education would endanger the prosperity of future generations, with widespread repercussions for poverty and social exclusion.”

According to him, “It will be difficult to improve our economic performance and overall productivity, without improving our educational system.”

He stated that the administration was aware of “the emergency situation in our educational system with particular reference to the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.”

Some of the awardees were the late Dr Stella Adadevoh and Mr Babatunde Lawal.

Other were recipients the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abdullahi Adamu; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; immediate past Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi; Chairman and Founder, BUA Group, Mr Abdusamad Rabiu; Chairman of Globacom, Mr Mike Adenuga Jnr; Professor Stanley Okolo, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and Allen Onyema, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, among others.

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