BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

FG committed to ending ASUU strike very soon — Goodluck Opiah

Goodluck Opiah, the minister of state for education has assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration is committed to ending the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU’s) ongoing strike soonest.

Opiah gave the assurance in Owerri, the capital of Imo State over the weekend while responding to questions from journalists during a reception organised in his honour by his friends.

“I can assure you that government is very concerned about the situation. Even as I speak to you now, a lot of thinking, a lot of discussions, and meetings are going on with a view to resolving the matter as quickly as possible.

“I am hopeful that the disagreement between government and ASUU will be resolved soon so that our children can return to school,” he said.

The minister said the challenges in the education sector are resolvable and that the federal government is not relenting in finding solutions and ending the ASUU strike.

Opiah, who was the 8th speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, said he is prepared to make an impact in the sector by working with Adamu Adamu, the minister of education.

“I am prepared to make impacts in the ministry and the education sector working with the minister, Mallam Adamu Adamu. Where there are challenges, there must be solutions. And I can assure you that we will find the solution and our children will go back to school,” Opiah said.

ASUU has been on strike for 5months and still counting over the union’s demands that financial implications such as the payment of Earned Academic Allowance, Revitalisation Fund, and the payment of withheld salaries be met by the federal government.

The union is asking the government to endorse its payment platform the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as against the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) used by other federal ministries.

Read also: Prolonged strike: Why ASUU should share some blame

The strike which started on February 14 as a warning strike has attracted severe condemnations on the part of the federal government and ASUU. And this has led some of the union members to retrace their steps as many state universities have resumed academic activities.

However, ASUU national leadership has maintained that the strike would continue until the federal government obliges to their demands.

Emmanuel Osodeke, the national president of ASUU in an interview with Channels Television recently stated,

“As far as ASUU is concerned, the strike can end tomorrow, we have finished the negotiations, let the government call us this night that we should come tomorrow and sign the agreement, we will be there.

“Let government tell us they have finished testing the UTAS, we have accepted it. By tomorrow, we will call off the strike. We are finished with negotiations.

“We are just waiting, and challenging the government. When will they sign the agreement, and when will they accept UTAS? Those are the two questions we need to ask the Nigerian government,” Osodeke said.

The ASUU leader also accused the federal government of not taking the aggrieved lecturers seriously, the reason he explained was responsible for the prolonged industrial action.

Furthermore, he said that the federal government has failed to pay the striking lecturers their salaries for the past five months, noting that the tool used as blackmail to punish the university workers will not work.

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