Reps Wade into ASUU Strike, Calls for Truce Oct 11, 2022 | news Following the recent efforts of the House of Representatives, there are indications that a truce may be brokered soon as the members of the lower National Assembly commenced intervention towards ending the seven-month long strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila rekindled the hope of students of Nigerian public universities as he declared that the House Leadership had covered good grounds in its negotiation with the lecturer’s union, ASUU.He, however, said that feelers from the meeting showed clearly that for a solution to be found for the lingering face-off, both parties in the industrial conflict, the Federal Government and ASUU-have to be ready to make concessions. In his opening remarks before the meeting went into a closed door session, the Speaker insisted that both parties must find a middle ground towards resolving the strike that has lasted for seven months.“Both sides must shift grounds if we are interested in our education system,” he said.At the meeting were the ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osedeke and members of his executive, as well as the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Goodluck Nana Opiah.The Speaker said, “We are here to see how we can close this dark chapter in our nation’s history. There is need for both sides to shift ground-the federal government and ASUU. It should not be about my way or the highway. It should be about give-and-take. We have to seek to come to a resolution at the end of the day. We have to take a significant step towards achieving that.”He said both efforts must be made to seek a short term measure, which involves bringing students back to school immediately, and long term measure which would involve looking for means to stop the problems leading to the strike permanently.In his remark, the ASUU President said the strike was only a symptom of the problem in the system, which is the decaying state of university education in the country.He said the union had never been called by the Ministry of Education to address the matter since the strike began.“No one would go around the universities in the country today and say everything is okay. Our public universities would soon be like public primary schools if nothing is done to address the situation,” he said.He pointed out that 95 Per cent of students are in public universities, while only five per cent are in private schools, hence the need to address the problem urgently. Reacting, Minister of State for Education, Hon. Goodluck Opiah said the strike was of concern to all stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Education.He noted that the intervention by the House was in addition to steps already being taken by the Executive arm of government to address the problem. Meanwhile, briefing newsmen shortly after four hours of meeting at the National Assembly in Abuja, the Speaker said the House of Representatives leadership had brokered a new agreement.The agreement, however, according to him, is subject to President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval, who is currently attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting at the United Nations UN Office in New York.The Union was led to the meeting by ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke, while the federal government was represented by Minister of State for Education Goodluck Opiah.The meeting which he chaired, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila announced that it has produced some agreements, but he did not specify which agreements were reached.He stated that when President Buhari arrives, the lawmakers will present the agreement to him, while ASUU will do the same for their members.“There were basically seven areas where ASUU presented what we saw as a request for them to go back on strike.” We looked at the seven areas and came to some conclusions.“After that, the leadership of this house will await Mr. President’s return from the ongoing General Assembly.” Mr. President will be present. We will lay out the legislative agreement.“I am hopeful that Mr. President will accept the agreement, and I believe that this matter will be resolved quickly,” he said.To discuss further, the lawmakers will meet with the National Information Technology Development Agency, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Auditor General of the Federation, and the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission on Thursday.The ASUU president stated during the meeting that the issue would be resolved soon.“It’s a positive development, and we’re looking forward to what they’ll send us to commit our members.” We are hopeful that this problem will be resolved soon.”On his part, the ASUU President said, “I also want to thank the Speaker and members of the House for this intervention. I think it’s a good development and we are waiting for what they will send to us. I believe that in the near future, this issue will be resolved.