Education Minister Surprised ASUU Is On Strike.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike appears to have rattled the Federal Government, as Education Minister Adamu Adamu stated that the incident surprised him.
He said it was even more concerning because renegotiations on ASUU’s demands were still underway, emphasizing that the government was not solely to blame for the difficulties that sparked the new strike.
According to Adamu, if, despite many conversations between ASUU and the Federal Administration, both sides fail to achieve a truce, the blame cannot be placed only on the government.
His comments came in response to queries from State House media during a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“ASUU, sadly, they have gone on strike and I am searching for them because all the concerns are being handled,” Adamu said, adding that ASUU’s decision came unexpectedly despite ongoing discussions.
“The last thing that happened was that our committee looked at their demands but there are renegotiation’s going on.
“They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at.”
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Speaking of ASUU’s draft agreement, he said, “A committee is looking at it. Immediately it finishes, the government is meant to announce what it had accepted. Then suddenly, I heard them going on strike.” On allegations from ASUU about his absence from meetings, he said, “ASUU will never say that. I always call the meeting myself.
“The meetings I didn’t attend were those that happened when I was in hospital in Germany.
“We want a peaceful resolution. The Federal Government is ready to meet them on all issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, then I think it’s not the fault of the government.
“There is a solution to this. The negotiations are the solution and that is why I have said that I am surprised that ASUU has gone on strike.”
Asked if the government can reach an agreement with ASUU before the end of the 30-day strike, Adamu said, “I can’t give you time. I am ready to reach an agreement with ASUU now but since I’m not the only one, I can’t give you time, but certainly we are going to reach an agreement very soon.”
Commenting on the disparity in cut-off marks for common entrance examinations across various parts of the country, the minister noted that the low cut-off marks in the North are meant to comply with the requirements of the Federal Character Commission.
“I have nothing to say on that. I am not aware of any difference unless it is meant to satisfy the requirements of the federal character. I think the federal character is required for the nation and it is accepted.
“There is nothing we can do about that. There would come a time when it would not be necessary.”