The Nigerian Senate has called on the Federal Government to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union on Universities (ASUU) to end the strike by members of the union.
ASUU on Sunday commenced the industrial action over poor funding of Nigerian universities and alleged plan by the federal government to increase students fees and introduce an education bank.
Led by its national president, Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU declared the strike at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting late on Sunday in Akure, Ondo State.
About 24 hours after the strike commenced, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the federal government does not have the financial power to meet the demands of the union.
He said the crash in the prices of oil globally has affected Nigeria – which he said, had dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education.
A senator, Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central), on Wednesday, however described the strike as a national problem. He explained that since 1992, Nigerians have been faced with strike after strike which have led to repeated shutdowns of universities.
He also stated that the issues raised by ASUU “are genuine.”
“The federal government needs to fund public universities. The issues raised by ASUU is in the best interest of education in Nigeria and is also in the best interest of the young people.
“Our universities need adequate funding. Our universities need adequate attention. The strike should not be seen as an act of confrontation but an attempt by ASUU to bring to the spotlight, the plight of public universities in Nigeria.
“Public universities have been underfunded and sometimes people wonder whether the universities we have are simply glorified secondary schools.
“This action should be an opportunity for each and every one of us to draw the attention of the authorities that are concerned to fund universities, to listen to ASUU and to see that the issues which they raised, are squarely addressed,” he said.