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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 has 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 which was exclusively sighted by our correspondent in Abuja was titled ‘NASS/HR/LEG/03/11/065’. It was dated September 15, 2022.
The letter partly reads, “The Hon. Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, hereby invites you to a stakeholders meeting towards finding a lasting solution to the lingering 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 made to find solution or reach agreement between the Federal Government and the striking university lecturers.
“The House is more worried by the negative consequences 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 that the matter was resolved.
“In the light of the foregoing, the House hereby requests for another opportunity to come together with stakeholders and leadership of ASUU to seek an amicable resolution 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 protest
Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students has vowed to take its 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 were already tired of pleading with both parties over the need to end the strike.
According to him, the four-day shutdown of busy highways and expressways had been a success, hence the move to disrupt international travels as from September 19, 2022 in order for “the bourgeois and the government to feel the pains the students have been passing through in the past seven months.”
He said, “We shall begin another round of protest next week by storming the airspaces on Monday, September 19, 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 be suffering at home alongside our lecturers while the few who gain from our sweats and blood have their kids abroad enjoying.
“We call on students to rise and join us as we take our destinies into our hands. Our demands remain consistently clear and simple. We call on ASUU leadership for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss solidarity actions and plan for the next phase of the struggles.
“Nigerian students are not subjected to security agencies and we haven’t seen any step from them to avert ASUU strike.
“Being on the road for the past four days and had garnered a lot of solidarity, grounding the airport is for us to get solidarity and we will keep on grounding the local and international airports and they know the effect of us grounding the airport.
“The only thing we request for them is to open our campuses back. They should give enough budgetary allocation, we are not asking for 26 percent we are asking for 22 percent. We pass a vote of no confidence on the Ministers of Labour 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 shall be mobilising all students to shut down the country. No Education! No Movement!
Slamming the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, over his purported comment on the barricade of federal roads by the students, Olumide noted that the strike had continued to linger due to the absence of children of the political class in public universities.