President Muhammadu Buhari will meet with the House of Representatives’ leadership to discuss how to end the prolonged dispute between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
After a meeting with stakeholders, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila made the announcement and stated that they would be sharing a report of their interactions with the key parties involved in the dispute and formulating recommendations that would allow the President to view the issues at stake from an informed second option.
Those who attended the meeting include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Sen Chris Ngige; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan; the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh; the Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, represented; as well as the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta among others. Also present was the delegation from ASUU led by its president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke.
Gbajabiamila urged both sides to give in and make compromises from their initial demands, reiterating that the interest of the students who had been affected by the issue should come first.
“We will put together our recommendations and our thoughts and take it to Mr. President, that’s why we are here to interface and look for solutions.
“Again let me repeat, we are running a government, nobody, no individual, no group, whether you are legislative, judiciary or whatever can be above the government, can be above the law.
“We can’t be against and I’m speaking specifically to ASUU, we did not say because the court has given judgement, that’s the end of our conversation.
In spite of the court judgement, we are still looking for solutions, we didn’t even address it here, I don’t want to address it.
“Otherwise, we could’ve said, if government has given judgement, I don’t know if there’s a stay of execution, I don’t know.
“We are appealing to you, the Judiciary has spoken, the Executive has spoken, the Legislature is about to speak together with the Executive; everybody cannot be wrong and only one person is right. For me I’m happy with the solution on UTAS, no victor, no vanquished, everybody is being carried along.
“for the sake of emphasis, the House is pleading with you, let’s put all interest aside and look at the interest of our children.
“The white paper we told you we’ll get, the letter is here, it’s now waiting for the President’s final approval.
“On revitalization, I asked the DG budget here if provision has been made in the budget. We made a promise to you, and we are staying by that promise.
“Regarding the issue of UTAS, you said you haven’t seen the report; we have it here, so we’ve been working for you”.