From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said on Wednesday, that public universities will soon reopen to students for academic and non academic activities, even though specific timeline was not attached to the statement.
The Minister who spoke at the inauguration ceremony of re-constituted committee on renegotiation of 2009 agreement between Federal Government and University based labour union in Abuja, confirmed that substantial progress has been made as regards the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Adamu said: “I can report that significant progress has, so far, been recorded and there is an opportunity that our public universities, like their private counterparts, will soon reopen for academic activities. Let me reaffirm the commitment of government to finding lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the education sector, and most especially, the university sub-sector.
“Government is determined to, within
available resources, provide the requisite environment, infrastructure as well as
improve the conditions of service for all categories of staff in Nigerian universities.
“Government, like other stakeholders, is also worried about the vicious cycle over the years of the myriad of industrial actions by one staff union or the other. The cumulative effect has been the obvious loss of productive and precious man hours direly needed by the universities to fulfil their tripod mandates of
teaching, research and community action.
“All these have impacted negatively on
our learning outcomes and the reputation of the Nigerian brand, which hitherto was the pride of the nation. Federal Government will take another look at the 2009 agreements reached with the university-based Unions and work with each Union towards making
far-reaching recommendations that would reposition the Nigerian university
“It has also become necessary and urgent that all hands must be on deck to restore the confidence reposed in university education by students, parents and the general public.”
Meanwhile, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, told journalists at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, that ASUU was never responsible for the closure of schools but the Federal Government that refused to meet the demands of ASUU.
He said: “What the Minister said was what was expected of him to say. But the bottom line is that we will only return to classrooms when government meet our demands. We didn’t close Universities, government did. Our members only withdrew their services when government denied them of certain things.”
He, however, confirmed that government has made certain offers to ASUU but the Union leaders are monitoring implementation before further action could be taken.