The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Tuesday, walked out on the ministers of education and labour, RuqquayatuRuf’ai and Emeka Wogu, during a meeting organised by the joint National Assembly committee on education in Abuja.
ASUU had called an indefinite strike last week Monday to protest government’s refusal to stick to its part of a truce and the joint committee had organised a meeting with the body, as well as the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP and the Academic Staff Union of Colleges of Education, COEASU, to a dialogue on the way forward.
At the gathering of all concerned parties, the committee askedASUU to excuse it, while it interacted with ASUP and COEASU, which had commenced strike action about eight weeks ago.
This request was viewed as a slight by ASUU and its team left the National Assembly Complex in annoyance.
The lawmakers condemned the actions of the ASUUrepresentatives, describing it as a disregard for the parliament.
Sunny Ugbuoji, a senator from Ebonyi State, said of the incident:
“ASUU has walked out on us and this should be said in plain terms. What meeting can be more important than this meeting.”
House of Representative member, Farouk Lawan, also criticised the move, saying that ASUU should have been patient to hear from the members and the ministers, noting that no other meeting could be more important.
He, however, urged the committee chairmen not to relent in rescheduling another meeting with ASUU in the interest of the students who were still at home.
The chairman of the Senate committee on education, UcheChukwumerije, said the committee would intensify its negotiation with the government to ensure that the issues at stake were resolved.
He appealed to ASUP to call off its eight-week old strike, saying that the committee was in talks with the federal government on the way forward and gave a deadline of two weeks for all pending issues to be resolved.
The ASUP President, Chibuzor Asomugha, promised to table the committee’s request before a meeting of the National Executive Council, NEC, of the body.
On his part, the President of COEASU, Emmanuel Nkoro, appealed to the committee and the ministers to look into his association’s demands to avert any strike action.
The two ministers assured the unions that the federal government was looking into the issues raised with a view to reaching an amicable resolution.