STRIKE: President Jonathan meets ASUU today, union warns against forcefully re-opening schools


PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan will meet the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday (today), apparently with a view to resolve the Federal Government-ASUU face-off that has left university gates shut since July 1.

But the union said it had got wind of Presidency’s plan to direct that universities be reopened, saying such directive without amicable resolution of the current strike would deepen the crisis.

Chairman of ASUU, University of Uyo chapter, Dr. Nwachukwu Anyim, said this in a statement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Sunday, saying that the union leaders were invited by the President.

Anyim said the invitation by Jonathan should ordinarily inspired hopes that the four-month-old strike by the lectures would soon end but that the union needed to be cautious in its optimism.

His statement read, “We are aware that President Jonathan intends to meet with the leadership of ASUU tomorrow, Monday, November 4, 2013, in a bid to address the deadlock in the ongoing strike by the members of the union.

“Ordinarily, the invitation by the President to the union would give the impression that the resolution of the strike was on the horizon. While we appreciate the present show of concern from the high office of the Presidency, we are, however, cautious in our optimism that the meeting between the President of the country and the union would yield desired results.

“The apparent lack of enthusiasm among our members concerning the outcome of the meeting is based on government’s lack of commitment towards the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement and the memorandum signed with ASUU. While we hope that the Federal Government would see reason to finally resolve the issues in contention, we urge well -meaning Nigerians and stakeholders to persuade government to implement the agreement with the union in order to save Nigeria’s public universities.”

It added, “We have received information that President Jonathan intends to direct that universities should be re-opened immediately. As a branch, we do not think that such a directive would resolve the issues at stake. Rather, such a directive would deepen the prevailing crisis. A show of force by the president could only, at best, result in a “pyrrhic victory.”

“We stand on the existing agreement between the union and the Federal Government. The MoU between government and ASUU and also the NEEDS Assessment Report should provide the road map for the resolution of the ongoing strike by ASUU.”

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