Senate Plans to Enact Law on Strike in Tertiary Institutions

Senate plans "legislative solutions" to stop strikes in tertiary institutions

Senate said on Tuesday it would initiate “legislative solutions” that would regulate incessant industrial actions in universities and other tertiary institutions in the country.

President of the Senate, David Mark, disclosed this in Abuja at the first conference of the National and state Assembly Committees on Education organised by the Senate Committee on Education.

The Senate’s position is coming in the middle of a prolonged strike called by the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) to press the demand for implementation of an agreement between the Federal Government and the university lecturers since 2009.

Mark, who was represented by Senate Minority Leader, Ganiyu Solomon, at the occasion also said it was important that particular attention is paid to the country’s education sector, which, according to him, is in serious need of transformation.

He stressed that persistence of industrial actions by ASUU has had huge impact on the country’s education system, adding that it has called for the Senate to initiate legislative solutions to the problem.

He stressed that issues of educational development have been a priority on the government’s programme.

He noted that the present situation in the education sector called for comprehensive and sustainable policies that will deliver good standards, decent environment and cost effectiveness.

Mark, however, called on the Federal Government and leadership of ASUU to gently come to an agreement to call off the current 84-day old strike.

Related news: ASUU Gives Reasons Why Strike Must Continue

Benue may forcefully reopen state varsity, terminate lecturers’ appointments

Meanwhile, Benue State Government has said it may consider forcefully reopening its own university – Benue State University (BSU) shut down by the ASUU strike.

This hint is coming after two meetings between the government and BSU chapter of ASUU had ended in deadlock.

The state government has also scheduled a meeting with the Governing Council of BSU later this week that would lead to the reopening of the institution.

State Governor, Gabriel Suswam, dropped the hint at the Government House, Makurdi, on Tuesday when he summoned the management staff of the state-owned university to his office.

The Governor, who noted that he was becoming “impatient” with the snail pace at the reluctance of the BSU ASUU to take a decision to resume classes, said he would be compelled to reopen the institution if nothing was done fast.

He vowed to terminate the appointment of any lecturer who fails to return to class when the institution reopens, adding that the state government was also enforcing the no work, no pay rule with immediate effect.

Suswam also threatened to “dust up” an earlier judgment of a Makurdi High Court that granted judgment in favour of the state government over an earlier strike embarked upon by BSU dons.

Suswam, who said he has run out of patience with the university which has nothing against the state government, added that he would not continue to tolerate the actions of the lecturers, which has an adverse effect on the students.

He argued that the area of concern of the state-owned university has been taken care of by the Federal Government, adding that prior to the strike the Federal Government has assisted the BSU with about N3 billion to embark on various project.

But the ASUU’s strike may soon end, as the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Julius Okojie, said the Federal Government was making progress in its negotiation with the university teachers.

Okojie, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at press luncheon, expressed optimism that the locked gates of universities would soon be opened, noting that progress was being made in the negotiation with the union.

It would be recalled that the Presidency took over the negotiations with the striking dons when it mandated Vice President Namadi Sambo to meet with their union.

Okojie, however, reacted to calls by the union for his sack and scrap of the NUC, saying, “It is only President Goodluck Jonathan that can sack me.”

Okojie debunked the impression that the university system is dying, saying the system has actually improved under his leadership.

Source: Daily Independent

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